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First Annual Palestine Film Festival to Debut in Ann Arbor

posted on: Feb 16, 2009

The honor of your presence is requested at the FIRST EVER Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival! The festival brings together all genres of film to celebrate and commemorate Palestine.

Begin planning your schedules now! Use the program below. More
information and directions to all the venues can be found on our
website here.

OPENING NIGHT! Wednesday, March 11th, 8pm at the Michigan Theater , the Michigan premiere of SALT OF THE SEA- The story of a Palestinian American’s first visit to her ancestral home, and her powerful reaction to the reality of her homeland. An
official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, and the official Palestinian entry for the Academy Awards. Salt of This Sea marks the acting debut of Palestinian American Def Jam poet Suheir Hammad, and is directed by acclaimed Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir.

Also showing:
Make A Wish
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.

DAY 2: Thursday, March 12th, 8pm at Natural Science Auditorium Laila’s Birthday Rashid Masharawi’s film Laila’s Birthday is a bittersweet story of ordinary people living in impossible circumstances. After turning to taxi-driving to earn a living, former Judge Abu Laila is tasked with
getting his daughter a birthday cake. The chaos that follows this seemingly simple task shows the absurd difficulty of life under occupation.

Driving to Zigzigland
A funny but poignant film, Driving to Zigzigland depicts the everyday life of Bashar, a Palestinian man who comes to L.A. with dreams of stardom. Instead, to make ends meet he drives a cab. This film
presents the difficulties of life as a Palestinian in America in a humorous yet powerful fashion.

Also showing:
A Day in Palestine
An impressionistic piece assembled from footage of everyday Palestinian life: families must surmount an enormous concrete barrier; an old woman is harassed on her land by soldiers. The home-movie style of the film lends it a deceptively nostalgic beauty.

DAY 3: Friday, March 13th, 8pm, at Michigan League Ballroom. This festival night is shared with Arab Xpressions, an event that showcases and celebrates Arab-American culture, with performances and
appearances by Arab comedians.

Join us to see a special selection of short films and to enjoy Arab Xpressions:

Our Kuffiyyah in London
By secretly snapping photos of Londoners wearing the popular Palestinian scarf, the “kuffiyyah”, the filmmaker ponders how her Palestinian grandparents would react if they could witness their
scarf’s almost ironic commercial appeal.

Everywhere Was the Same

Slideshow images of abandoned homes and emptied out public spaces carries along the story of two girls who find themselves in a kind of pre-apocalyptic paradise.

Carried By the Wind
Music knows no boundaries. In Bethlehem, Merlijn Twaalfhoven and partners create a spectacular music performance from atop rooftops and balconies, across the Separation Wall that now divides this holy town.

DAY 4: Saturday, March 14th, 2pm, at Rackham Amphitheater Leila Khaled – Hijacker
In 1969, Palestinian Leila Khaled made history by becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane. As a Palestinian child growing up in Sweden, filmmaker Lina Makboul admired Khaled for her bold actions; as
an adult, she began asking complex questions about the legacy created by her childhood hero. This fascinating documentary is at once a portrait of Khaled, an exploration of the filmmaker’s own
understanding of her Palestinian identity, and a complicated examination of the nebulous dichotomy between “terrorist” and “freedom fighter.”

Palestine in Fragments
A unique and unforgettable meditation which disrupts any separation between art and documentary filmmaking from the first frame and continues to surprise throughout. Using images (stills, video,
landscapes, interviews, architectures) shot between 2001 and 2007, the director assembles a series of chapters which move between impressionistic studies of unusual spaces and structures observed in
the occupied Palestinian territories, to informal interviews in which the narratives of Palestinians in the West Bank are presented


Sakhnin is a small Arab town inside Israel where life is far from normal. Despite hardships, Sakhnin, like the rest of the world, is mad about football and has produced an edgy, hungry football team that
managed, against all odds, to win Israel’s national cup in 2004. As the drama of the new football season unfolds, Hardball reveals why the underdog team has attracted such a devoted and fervent following among
thousands of Arab fans across the country.

DAY 4: Closing night, March 14th, 8pm, at Rackham Amphitheater
Slingshot HIp Hop
Slingshot Hip Hop, the brainchild of Jackie Salloum, tells the stories of young Palestinian hip hop artists within Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. The film showcases all of the artists in their own struggles as
Palestinians, as hip hop artists, and first and foremost, human beings.

Also showing:
People Not Places
This Docu-Music-Video is based on the song of the same name by Invincible featuring, Abeer, Suhell Nafar (DAM), and Shadia Mansour, which takes the listener on a journey through a “birthright” tour of
Israel where the buried Palestinian significance of each location comes to light.

Ticket information and purchases can be found here
Tickets can be bought online or at the box office of each screening.

A volunteer session will be held on Wednesday, March 4th, at 7:30pm,
location TBA. Please email us if you would like to join the volunteer

-Palestinian Film Festival Committee