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Bristol Palestine Film Festival 2020: What to look out for

The Bristol Palestine Film Festival is still going ahead this year, so you can celebrate a submission by tuning into one of their ten days of programming for free, from the comfort of your own bed.

By Katya Spiers, Film & TV Digital Editor

We’re in the joyful throes of deadline season, but while Bristol remains in tier three restrictions, we aren’t able to celebrate hand-ins in the usual way. There is, however, a bit of good news amongst all the bad: the Bristol Palestine Film Festival is still going ahead this year, so you can celebrate a submission by tuning into one of their ten days of programming for free, from the comfort of your own bed.

This year marks the festival’s tenth anniversary year, which is running from the 4th to the 13th December. But rather than cancelling or postponing the festival, the BPFF has embraced the restrictions in place with their first ever online edition, which they are hoping will increase viewership and give Palestinian cinema a greater platform than ever before.

As Cielle Bragg, the BPFF’s communications director, explains: ‘Maybe someone that has never seen a Palestinian film will watch one for the first time and connect with the people and what’s happening there. That’s one of our biggest aims with the festival, whatever form it takes.’

With a nimbly-curated line-up, the BPFF is committed to shining a light on inspiring and unique cinema that reflects the lives of Palestinian people. Here are some films to keep an eye out for this year.

Colors of Resistance (2019), dir. Areeb Zuaiter

Courtesy of IMDb and BPFF

Colours of Resistance chronicles filmmaker Areen Zuatier’s personal exploration of Palestinian identity.

Meeting a painter, comedian, poet, and soul singer along the way, Zuatier explores the way in which cultural and national identities are formed in a country whose legitimacy is constantly being questioned. Through her conversations with these Palestinian artists, the filmmaker gets to grips with what it is that constitutes cultural identity and belonging, and the importance of her children embracing their Palestinian roots – despite it being a country in which they may never live.

Jalas (2019), dir. Olga Arias Muñiz

Courtesy of the BPFF

Jalas is a short documentary about three teenage girls, Baraá, Rima and Tasneem who, despite living relatively close to one another, are separated by walls and checkpoints. Their frank but moving discussions of their daily lives and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict provide an inspiring account of the resistance and faith inherent in the Palestinian population.

Between Two Crossings (2019), dir. Yasser Murtaja

Courtesy of the BPFF

Between Two Crossings is a documentary directed by Yasser Murtaja, a journalist and filmmaker who was killed by an Israeli sniper in April 2018 while working on the Gaza-Israel border.

It is a poignant vérité-style portrait of 21-year-old Nour, who is being held back from attending global leadership programs in South Africa and at Harvard University because of the siege on Gaza. The documentary follows Nour’s crucial journey out of Gaza, which remains a daunting and life-threatening task despite her having compelling reason to do so.

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Mural unveiled to commemorate Bristol Palestine Film Festival's tenth anniversary

Reflections from Palestine During Covid-19 (program of shorts)

This year’s BPFF line-up features an exciting programme of shorts which have been guest-curated by FilmLab Palestine on the topic of Palestinian life in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Contemporary, relevant and moving, these fourteen shorts depict the universality of the boredom, anger and hopelessness that was felt around the world over the course of the year.

The BPFF line-up will be available to stream on the festival’s website from Friday 4 December.

Featured: BPFF, IMDb

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