2007 Houston Palestine Film Festival
Read article about festival by Hosam Aboul-Ela
Film Pass for 6 nights $20; Daily admission $5/ MFAH (5/13) $7
May 11-13 and May 18-20, 2007, 7:00 pm every night
Friday, May 11: Rice University Media Center; Dir. Lina Makboul present; opening remarks by Sissy Farenthold
Saturday, May 12: The Station Museum;
Dir. Nida Sinnokrot present
Sunday, May 13: Museum of Fine Arts
Houston; Political Studies Professor As’ad AbuKhalil present
Friday, May 18: Rice University Media Center
Saturday, May 19: FotoFest
Sunday, May 20: Rice University Media Center; Dir. Elle Flanders present;
with History Associate Professor Ussama
Houston Palestine Film Festival is presented by Voices Breaking Boundaries and
cosponsored by the Museum
of Fine Arts Houston, the Station Museum, FotoFest, Rice Cinema and KPFT Pacifica Radio 90.1 FM.
The first annual Houston Palestine Film Festival brings an
honest and independent view of Palestine and its diaspora’s society, culture,
and political travails through the art of film. This group of groundbreaking
cinematic texts rise above the degrading stereotypes or reductively politicized
depictions that are so familiar to Houstonians. A major goal of the Festival is
to directly expose our local community to the perspective of artists as a first
step toward circumventing the many government and media filters that pollute
our understanding of Palestine and the wider region. Some of the films in this
year’s festival include Waiting / Attente (Dir. Rashid Mashrawi) and Leila Khaled, Hijacker (Dir. Lina
Makboul). The first annual Houston Palestine Film Festival will include two
weekends of film screenings presenting conversations with directors Lina Makboul, Nida Sinnokrot and Elle Flanders along
with panels featuring political analyst/ academic/ journalist (and Angry Arab) As’ad AbuKhalil and Rice University
Associate professor Ussama
Houston Palestine Film Festival is curated by Hosam
Aboul-Ela, Hadeel Assali, Said Assali, Hana El-Sahly, Iman Saqr and VBB.
Friday May 11, 2007, 7:00 pm
Director Rana Kazkaz
United States, 2006, 13 minutes
Yussef, a six year old Arab-American boy, dreams of being
the Cowboy instead of the Indian on the playground. Daring to challenge
the role his race has determined, Yussef learns the playground rules of
becoming a cowboy. But is being a cowboy everything Yussef hoped it would
Leila Khaled, Hijacker
Director Lina Makboul, (in attendance)
Sweden, 2005, 58 minutes
Leila Khaled, Hijacker documents the life of activist Leila
Khaled, who achieved international notoriety with two airplane hijackings in
1969 and 1970. For filmmaker Makboul, her teenage hero worship of the world’s
first female hijacker served as the catalyst for her pursuit of the present-day
Leila Khaled, a motherly but unrepentant 60-year-old who staunchly defends
guerilla action in service of the Palestinian cause. In Makboul’s increasingly
intimate conversations with Khaled, and in interviews with airline personnel,
difficult questions elicit surprising answers. In Swedish, Arabic, and English
with English subtitles. Opening comments by Sissy Farenthold; Q & A session with director Lina Makboul. Reception follows screenings.
Reception follows screening
About the speakers:
An attorney, former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate in Texas, Sissy Farenthold earned national recognition as the founding president of the National Women's Political Caucus. In 1972, she was nominated for vice presidency of the United States at the Democratic National Convention.
Lina Makboul was born in Sweden by Palestinian parents who are from Nablus on the West bank. She started working as a journalist at the Swedish National Radio 1996. In 1998 she began working with television at the Swedish National Television, SVT. Leila Khaled: Hijacker is Makboul's debut film.
Saturday, May 12, 2007, 7:00 pm
Director Alia Arasoughly
Palestine, 2006, 13 minutes
The Clothesline examines the war inside and war outside of
an apartment during the 2002 Ramallah siege.
Director Larissa Sansour
2004, 5 minutes
Bethlehem Bandolero features the artist herself as a Mexican
gunslinger arriving in Bethlehem for a duel with the Segregation Wall. Wearing
a big, red sombrero and a scarf, she walks the streets of Bethlehem and greets
the people before taking off for her final showdown.
Directed by Nida Sinnokrot (in attendance)
USA, 2006, 80 minutes
The demolished house that is the site of the death of
American peace activist Rachel Corrie is only the first of the troubling
markers in the landscape charted by Palestine Blues as the director travels the
route of the infamous security wall. A bereft farmer grieves for his ancient
orchard as the bulldozers lay it to waste, but a new movement in nonviolent
resistance grows in its place. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.
About the director:
Nida Sinnokrot is a Palestinian-American artist and filmmaker and carpenter. His films, installations, and sculptures often explore the complex political realities of Diaspora through a phenomenological approach. After completing his undergraduate studies in Film at the University of Texas at Austin, Nida moved to New York where he received an MFA in Film and Video from Bard College. Nida attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in 2001, is a 2002 Rockefeller Media Fellow, and was recently awarded a Paul Robeson media grant. In 2006 Nida's directing and producing credits include his award winning feature documentary Palestine Blues, currently playing in festivals throughout Europe and the USA. Palestine Blues is Nida's first feature film. Nida currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Reception follows screening, with DJ Rhyme
Sunday, May 13, 2007, 7 pm
of Fine Arts Houston
Director, Rashid Masharawi
France-Palestine, 2005, 72 min
In attendance political analyst As’ad AbuKhalil
From the director of the highly regarded Ticket to Jerusalem comes another strong film about the contemporary Palestinian experience. In
Waiting, the National Palestinian Theatre is about to open in a magnificent new
building financed by the European Union in Gaza. Ahmad, a famed Palestinian
stage director, sets out to hire actors for the new company despite his
reluctance upon viewing the construction site. Enlisting a local television
personality and her cameraman for his crew, Ahmad travels to refugee camps in
Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, where open casting calls have been issued. The
resulting auditions are chaotic, funny, and poignant, revealing much about the
lives of people who have been displaced from their homes and separated from
About the speaker:
will be discussing the film with the audience. Born in Tyre, Lebanon, Khalil
grew up in Beirut and received his education from American University of
Beirut. After coming to the US in 1983, Khalil received his PhD from Georgetown
University and went on to teach at universities around the US. He also served
as free-lance Middle East consultant for NBC News and ABC News, an experience
that only served to increase his disdain for maintream US media. He is now
professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and
visiting professor at UC, Berkeley.
Friday, May 18, 2007, 7:00 pm
Mloukhieh (Soup Over Bethlehem)
Director, Larissa Sansour
Palestine, 2006, 9 minutes
Make a Wish
Director Cherien Dabis
Palestine, 2006, 12min
A young Palestinian girl will do whatever it takes to buy a
birthday cake. Eleven year-old Mariam begs her mother for the extra money she
needs to buy a cake at the local bakery. Her mother begrudgingly relents, but
when Mariam arrives at the bakery, she realizes that she still doesn’t have
enough. Determined to get the cake, she sets out to brave the obstacles and land
some cash. What begins as a simple trip to the bakery turns into a journey that
depicts not only the subtle tensions of a politically charged environment, but
also illustrates the grief that can result from growing up under occupation. In
Arabic with English subtitles.
Director Ayelet Bechar
Israel, 2005, 71 minutes
In this documentary recording a Fall 2003 wedding in the
north of Israel, two hundred guests, dance to music. The bride in a white
dress. 36-year-old Kifah Massarwi, an Israeli citizen, organized a wedding for
herself, minus the groom as part of her bitter battle against the Israeli
authorities, who forbid her spouse from entering the country.
The Citizenship Law, effective since 2003, states that
residents of the Palestinian Authority may not enter Israel, even if married to
Israeli citizens. Just Married is the story of two Palestinian couples who
decided to marry knowing that it would be impossible for them to bring their
partners back to Israel.
Saturday, May 19, 2007, 7:00 pm
In Kings and Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image, Azza
el-Hassan uses rare and 1970s and 1980s archival footage of the Palestinian
national movement and a series of contemporary interviews with film-makers,
archivists and historians to explore the role of film-making and photography
during this period. At the heart of the film is her search for answers as to
the apparently mysterious ‘loss’ of the central Palestinian cinema archive in
Beirut during the Israeli occupation. Arabic with English subtitles.
Summer 2006: A medley of 13 shorts films by various Palestinian artists
Palestine, 35 minutes
The Seventh Dog
Director, Zeina Durra
USA, 2005, 21 minutes
The Seventh Dog, Durra’s New York University thesis, is a black comedy which portrays the poignant, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic truths of Soraya, a Parisian/Palestinian and Yusif, her Saudi boyfriend in a post-9/11 New York City lifestyle. One an encounter with Soraya’s superintendant turns an unfortunate accident into something more sinister. The couple’s lives spiral out of control. Broken-hearted and
frustrated Soraya faces the complexity of cold reality.
Reception follows screening.
Sunday, May 20, 2007, 7:00 pm
The documentary feature Zero Degrees of Separation takes
viewers on a unique journey through the complex lives of Israeli and
Palestinian gays and lesbians in inter-ethnic relationships. Though living on
the margins of society, these couples defy the odds, existing in the midst of
conflict with a gentle humanity and mutual respect. Interwoven into these
stories is director Elle Flanders' own narrative of growing up with
grandparents who were intimately involved in the founding of the state of
Israel. Zero Degrees of Separation, premiered at the Berlin International Film
Festival and has toured extensively, winning awards internationally.
Director Elle Flanders will be
present at the screening and will be available to answer questions at the end.
Born in Montreal and raised in Canada and Israel, Flanders is a filmmaker and
photographer based in Toronto and New York City. Also present at the question
and answer series will be Ussama
Makdisi Associate Professor of History and the first holder of the
Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice
University. He is the author of The Culture of Sectarianism: Community,
History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (University of
California Press, 2000).
This festival has been generously supported by the The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance,
Free Press Houston, Houston Endowment Inc.,
HoustonSoReal, NAGAM, The Swedish Film Institute , and the Arab US Bilateral Chamber of Commerce.
Special thanks to the Chicago
Palestine Film Festival and Aladdin's.