The annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) opens tonight with Najwa Najjar’s feature film Pomegranates and Myrrh (read Jimmy Johnson’s review for The Electronic Intifada).
The TPFF — founded in 2008 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing and dispossession of historic Palestine — runs through 7 October.
Dania Majid, programmer and media liaison with the Toronto Palestine Film Festival, said that over the past three years, the festival has grown and its often sold-out events have “become a fixture in Toronto’s film festival scene.”
“Our audience is very diverse in terms of backgrounds and knowledge of Palestine,” Majid told The Electronic Intifada by email.
“Many Palestinians and non-Palestinians have expressed to us that everything they have learned about Palestine has been [from] the festival,” Majid said. “We work with talented members of the Toronto film community, we have dedicated sponsors who support our work, we are regularly asked to participate in other cultural and film festivals, and we have become a resource for academics, filmmakers and the media on issues related to Middle Eastern culture and outreach to the Arab community in Toronto.”
This year’s festival features 25 feature films, shorts and documentaries, including Georges Hachem’s debut feature Stray Bullet and Mahmoud Al Massad’s surrealist film This is My Picture When I was Dead and Children of the Revolution, a documentary that follows the lives children of women whose mothers worked with Palestinian freedom fighters and became “leading revolutionaries of their time” (both films were reviewed for The Electronic Intifada by Naira Antoun). There will also be panel discussions on “Arab World Perspectives” and and “Arab Women and Media Representation.”
This year’s festival will conclude with a screening of Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation (reviewed yesterday by Alexander Billet for The Electronic Intifada) and a party featuring a performance by Palestinian hip hop artist Shadia Mansour — who also stars in Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation.