Art, Music & Culture

Palestinian Film Professionals Question Euromed Funding Initiative in Open Letter

13 February 2006

In December 2005, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) sent a letter to the EUROPEaid office in Brussels concerning the shortlisting of a partnership between the Ramallah Film Institute and the New Foundation for Cinema and Television, estimated at $1.8 billion. Neither their letter, nor a letter sent by a group of 40 filmmakers and artists, received any response or acknowledgement from EUROPEaid. The following letter was resent by the group of filmmakers and artists emphasizing their continued concern with the respective project organisations’ lack of transparency and failure to condemn the Israeli occupation.

Arab music tour to benefit music education in Palestine

6 February 2006

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The ensemble

Playing lively arrangements based on classical themes, four Palestinian musicians will perform authentic instrumental Arab music in the U.S. for the first time, from February 14-24. Proceeds of the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) sponsored concert tour will support the Palestine Youth Orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. Touring New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, the four Palestinian members of this unique Ensemble are faculty of The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music where both Arab and western music is taught to 550 Palestinian students of elementary through high school age annually, even under the difficult conditions of Palestine.

Munich, or Making Baklava

Joseph Massad
3 February 2006

“The best baklava is made by the Arabs in Jaffa,” insists the Mossad case officer to his chief agent in charge of assassinating those Palestinians Israel claims planned the Munich operation of 1972. Besides being excellent baklava-makers, we learn little else in Steven Spielberg’s film “Munich” about Jaffa’s Palestinians, the majority of whom were pushed into the sea by Zionist forces in May 1948. Columbia University professor and EI contributor Joseph Massad examines Spielberg’s film and finds that it continues a tradition started by Otto Preminger’s 1960 film “Exodus,” and ultimately serves to justify rather than question Israeli terrorism and violence.

The Perfect Antidote to the War on Terror

Nigel Parry
1 February 2006

Any Arab who has watched a few movies in their time knows that their people and Tinsel Town have a few things to work out. With no shortage of caricatures, stereotypes, and other negative portrayals flickering across cinema screens year after year, passing unnoticed in American society bar the reflexive condemnations by Arab American groups, it was high time someone did something proactive. The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival, which held its third annual event in Manhattan last November to sold out crowds, recently took the Festival on the road to the industry’s front door: Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Palestine gets its first Oscar nomination with Paradise Now

Arjan El Fassed
31 January 2006

Paradise Now has been nominated “best foreign language film” for the 78th Annual Academy Awards — better known as the Oscars. The film was directed by Palestinian Hany Abu-Assad from a screenplay he cowrote with Bero Beyer, the film’s Dutch producer. Three years ago, it was the first time a Palestinian film entered the Oscars race for best foreign film. Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention, acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the international critics’ prize, could have been a contender for the Oscars. At first Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Pictures refused to accept the film as a candidate for the best foreign-language film because the Academy believed that Palestine was not recognized as a nation.

"Paradise Now" wins Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film

16 January 2006

Paradise Now won the Best Foreign Language Flm category in today’s 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards. The film was directed by Palestinian Hany Abu-Assad from a screenplay he cowrote with Bero Beyer, the film’s Dutch producer, both of whom ascended to the podium to collect the award. Paradise Now chronicles the 48 hours before two best friends in Nablus are sent on a suicide mission to Israel. The New York Times said it “accomplishes the tricky feat of humanising the suicide bombers depicted in the film”. The paper dubbed the film “a taut, ingeniously calculated thriller”.

The Arabs Are Coming! New York Arab American Comedy Festival heads for LA!

13 January 2006

(New York, NY) - Organizers behind the groundbreaking New York Arab American Comedy Festival (NYAACF) announced that they will be taking their critically acclaimed Festival on the road for the first time ever as they travel to Los Angeles for three nights: Tuesday, January 24 - Thursday, January 26, 2006. This LA run follows the overwhelming success of the third annual NYAACF held in New York City from November 13-17, 2005 and which saw over one thousand people attend the five nights of sold out events.

"Munich": Spielberg's thrilling crisis of conscience

Maureen Clare Murphy
14 January 2006

”What’s going on in that head and that mind?” an American news commentator asks during a montage of media reports on the kidnapping of eleven Israeli athletes by the Palestinian Black September group. The astonished newsman is questioning the Palestinian hostage takers who end up murdering their eleven captors during Germany’s botched rescue attempt. But Munich’s director Steven Spielberg, for now, is more interested in what’s going on in the mind of the Israeli agent in charge of the state’s response to the Munich killings. However, whether we really get into the minds of the unlikely group of Israeli Mossad agents who are assembled by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir to avenge the killings is debatable. It is mostly Spielberg’s moral dilemmas that we access, but not all the questions necessary to resolving his moral dilemma are posed.

Paradise Now nominated for Golden Globes

Arjan El Fassed
14 December 2005

Yesterday at the Beverly Hilton, the motion picture ‘Paradise Now’ was nominated in the best foreign language film category for the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards. The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards will take place Monday, January 16, 2006, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with a live telecast airing on NBC. Last week, Philip Berk, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that sixty foreign language films have been qualified for the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards. Earlier this week, it was announced that the film is a finalist for the Broadcast Film Critics Association award and has won the National Board of Review award.

New documentary a family tale older than Israel itself

Jim Quilty
2 December 2005

Nizar Hassan’s latest documentary is a hybrid. Part oral history project, part detective story, Karem Abou Khalil (Abou Khalil Grove) tells one Palestinian family’s history from the Ottoman to the Israeli periods. It’s also an amused study of misplaced premises and faulty representation. It’s not a story of burning tires and bulldozed houses - a la Ijtiah, Hassan’s 2002 documentary on the Jenin invasion. It’s a family tale older than Israel, though its telling is fenced in by the tense courtesy of life under Israeli domination.

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