Second Annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival to be held April 17-25

Chicago will host its second annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival from April 17-25 2003. The festival will feature over 30 films that collectively narrate the realities and dreams of the Palestinian people.

The 2002 Chicago Palestine Film Festival was a great success in its first run with over 1500 attendees and was selected as the “Critic’s Choice” in the weekly Chicago Reader newspaper (circulation 150,000).

“This festival is again a personal statement for us,” says Danya Qato, the festival’s director. “Especially in light of the current events, we think this festival is extremely necessary in order to contextualize and complicate the pervasive images of Palestinians in the media. We have made every effort to make this festival accessible and engaging to the entire city by choosing different venues located throughout the city, offering free admission and opportunities for discussion, and welcoming anyone interested-from either or neither side of the conflict. It is our most sincere desire that this festival will enrich and broaden discourse.”

“The spoken word has long played a central role in the transmission of Palestinian history from one village to the next and from one generation to the next” says Rena Barakat, a committee member, “Film captures and preserves this tradition of oral history, making it one of the most powerful vehicles for expression.”

The festival will feature a diverse selection of shorts, features and documentaries that represent varied perspectives of Palestinian history, tradition, and culture. Films directed by both American, European, and Palestinian directors, living in Palestine or in the Diaspora, will be screened in three locations: Women in the Director’s Chair, the Beverly Art Center, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

The festival will feature the Chicago premieres of over 25 films, including Hany Abu Assad’s Rana’s Wedding: Jerusalem, Another Day, an official selection for the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, Jeremy Hardy vs. the Israeli Army, a film by the London-based Palestinian filmmaker Leila Sansour, and Genet à Shatila from Swiss director Richard Dindo. Six films will be making their U.S. premieres, including films by Yahya Barakat, Tawfik Abu Wael, and Nizar Hassan. Nizar Hassan, Leila Sansour, and Hanna Elias will lead discussion on their films. There will be many occasions throughout the festival to encourage and enable a forum for discussion.

For a complete schedule and updated information visit our website at www.palestinefilmfest.com regularly.