Palestine Film Festival Australia

Rebecca Varidel
26th Sep 2019

In case you haven't already noticed, our hearts are wide open for World Cinema. Next up news, this October Sydney will welcome the 10th anniversary of the Palestinian Film Festival, a brand new program stream for Sydney audiences featuring titles from the broader Arab world and beyond.

The Palestinian Film Festival Australia returns to celebrate with a stacked program of award-winning features, ground-breaking documentaries, thought-provoking shorts and the launch of its exciting new program stream, Arab Cinema Days.

This year’s program features international film festival favourites: winner of the 2019 Cannes Special Jury Prize: It Must Be Heaven, a comic saga exploring identity, nationality and the true nature of home; Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominated documentary Gaza about the everyday lives of Gazan citizens beyond the rubble of perennial conflict; and the popular feature from this year’s Sydney Film Festival, Screwdriver in which a Palestinian political prisoner battles to reintegrate into society following his release.

Ground-breaking documentaries include: Ibrahim: A Fate to Define, fresh from the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, an intensely personal and provocative documentary chronicling director Lina Alabed’s quest to redefine her own identity by searching for traces of her missing father; and theatre director Nidal Badarny’s debut Waiting for FarajAllah which takes us behind the scenes of a Palestinian theatre production of Samuel Beckett’s iconic tragicomedy Waiting For Godot, delving into the lives of the crew and evealing startling parallels between the play’s themes and their own lives.

Highlights include powerful dramas: 2019 Sydney Film Festival favourite Slam, a tense mystery set in Western Sydney tackling Islamophobia by award-winning director Partho Sen-Gupta (Sunrise); Weldi (Dear Son) a powerful drama about a Tunisian family’s discovery that their son has joined ISIS; and Adam, Un Certain Regard Award nominee at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the poignant story of a modest bakery owner and a pregnant job-seeker who overcome their initial differences to forge a deep life-changing bond.

Gripping documentaries in the Arab Cinema Days program include: For Sama, an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war, co-directed by award-winning female journalist Waad al-Kateab; and Mirrors of Diaspora, a multi-character story of seven Iraqi artists and their experiences of exile, creativity and war over forty years.

The Festival will also showcase a selection of stellar short films: Cannes Film Festival 3rd Prize Cinéfondation winner Ambience follows the story of two young Palestinians trying to record a music demo inside a noisy refugee camp; The Crossing, a heart-wrenching family drama chronicling three siblings’ struggle to cross the Israeli-West Bank Separation Wall and visit their sick grandfather on the other side; and In Vitro, an otherworldly rumination on memory, history, place and identity set in Bethlehem decades after an eco-disaster.

“We’re excited to bring you the best Palestinian cinema of 2019 for our landmark tenth Festival! This year’s program focuses on the profound connection between people and place,” said Festival Director Naser Shakhtour. “From life in Gaza beyond the rubble to a former political prisoner’s battle to reintegrate into society, we examine the importance of home through the unique lens of Palestinian filmmakers.”

2019 Palestinian Film Festival Australia
24 October – 3 November 2019 Sydney