Western Massachusetts Palestinian Film Festival to be held October 1-3

AQOOLU LAKUM - LET ME TELL YOU: THE WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS PALESTINIAN FILM FESTIVALTO BE HELD OCTOBER 1-3, 2004, FEATURING AWARD-WINNING FILMS AND AN EXHIBITION OF RARE HISTORICAL IMAGES

A three-day festival, “Aqoolu Lakum - Let Me Tell You: The Western Massachusetts Palestinian Film Festival,” will take place in the Pioneer Valley on October 1-3, 2004. The festival, organized by Valley residents from a range of backgrounds, will include twenty-six films and an exhibition of rare photographic material.

The festival will show a mixture of documentaries and fiction films about Palestine made largely by Palestinians, with a selection by Israeli and other international filmmakers. Many were awarded prizes such as the Silver Pyramid (The Olive Harvest, 2003), the Golden Butterfly (The Tale of Three Jewels, 1995), and the Golden Hawk Award (Shatter Hassan, 2001) at internationally acclaimed film festivals at Cannes, Locarno, Isfahan, Jerusalem, and Rotterdam. Some films will be making their United States premiere during the festival, including Mahmoud Al-Massad’s Once Upon a Time in the Middle East: Matching Seconds, which will make its international debut in the Valley.

The festival program is organized around several themes. These include: “Shattered Dreams” (films about Palestinian youth), “I Am From There” (films dealing with exile and memory), “Life Under Occupation,” “History,” “Women’s Stories,” and “Art/Artists” (biographies of artists whose work addresses the conflict). Several filmmakers—Annemarie Jacir (like twenty impossibles), Hanna Elias (The Olive Harvest), and Ellen Flanders (Zero Degrees of Separation)—will be present at the screenings of their films and will participate in panels and discussions during the weekend.

Accompanying the film festival will be an interactive exhibition of rare historical images by Palestinian photographer Hanna Safieh (1910 - 1979), Looking for Palestine: Historical Images by Hanna Safieh, curated by Anna Sloan and John Fiscella. Making their North American debut in Smith College’s Oresman Gallery, the photographs will be exhibited as a series of projected images, a format that brings them into a rich conversation with the filmic images presented concurrently in the festival.

Films will be screened in Northampton on the campus of Smith College and at the Media Education Foundation; at the Martin Luther King Center in Springfield; and at the Holyoke Public Library. Looking for Palestine: Historical Images by Hanna Safieh will be presented in the Oresman Gallery, located outside of Graham Hall in the Brown Fine Arts Center at Smith College. All events are free and open to the public.

For further information, please visit our website: www.aqoolulakum.org

Contacts:
Uri Strauss (413) 584-6897; (413) 545-5313; uri@linguist.umass.edu
Alisa Klein (413) 586-9123; alisaklein@yahoo.c