The third annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival begins Friday, June 4, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The festival moves to the Southwest Youth Collaborative on June 18. The selections this year include 20 films by Palestinian, Israeli, American and European filmmakers. This powerful program of features, documentaries, and shorts will be shown in English or Arabic, Hebrew, German or French with English subtitles. The festival selections feature numerous North American premieres and one world premiere film.
Highlights include the opening-night screening of “Arna’s Children,” by Palestinian-Israeli director Juliano Mer Khamis. Shifting back and forth through time, the film shadows a Palestinian youth theater group from 1989-96, revealing the tragedy and horror of lives trapped by Israeli military occupation. The film won “Best Documentary Feature” at the Tribeca Film Festival 2004.
On Saturday June 5, the festival will hold the world premiere of “Jihad!” by New York-based Palestinian director Muhammed Rum. Rum, who wrote, acted in, and directed this dark comedy will be present for audience discussion.
On Sunday, June 13, Egyptian/French documentary filmmaker Samir Abdallah will present the North American premiere of “Writers on the Borders: a Journey to Palestine,” which he directed with Jose Reynes.
“The tenacity, tragedy, hope and humor of the Palestinian people—whether in Palestine or in Diaspora—is reflected in the richness, depth and diversity of these films,” said Chris Khoury, the festival’s project coordinator, about the film festival.
The Chicago Palestine Film Festival began in 2001 with a mission to promote films by Palestinian filmmakers and films about Palestine. It is the first and largest Palestinian film festival in North America.
From June 4 to 17, screenings are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute, Chicago’s premier venue for independent and world cinema, located at 164 N. State St.
Tickets to each screening are $9/general admission and $5/Film Center members and may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office, which opens at 5 p.m. on weekdays and at 2 p.m. on weekends. General public tickets are also available through Ticketmaster, 312-575-8000, www.ticketmaster.com, and all Ticketmaster outlets.
For more information, call the Film Center at 312-846-2800 (24-hour movie hotline) or 312-846-2600 (general information, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday), or log on www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
The Interparking SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St., located between Wabash and State, offers Film Center patrons a special rate of $13 with no time limit. Patrons are required to show their ticket stub to receive the discount.
From June 18-20, screenings are at the Southwest Youth Collaborative at 6400 S. Kedzie Ave. There is no admission price for events at this venue, and reservations are accepted only for groups of 10 or more. Call the festival hotline 312-873-4401 for more information about this venue and to make reservations.
For a complete schedule and updated information visit www.palestinefilmfest.com regularly or call the hotline 312-873-4401.