Palestine Film Festival at the North of Nowhere Expo


The Edmonton Small Press Association’s 2009 North of Nowhere Expo is featuring as part of its two week festival a full slate of programming focusing on Palestine in its Palestine Film Festival.

NoN Palestinian events during the festival are listed below. Visit the North of Nowhere website for full information or visit the Facebook event page.

Friday, October 23 at Metro Cinema

8:30 pm
American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein
American Radical is the probing, definitive documentary about American academic Norman Finkelstein. A devoted son of holocaust survivors, ardent critic of Israel and US Mid-East policy, and author of five provocative books including, “The Holocaust Industry”, Finkelstein has been steadfast at the center of many intractable controversies, including his recent denial of tenure at DePaul University. Called a lunatic and disgusting self-hating Jew by some, and an inspirational street-fighting revolutionary by others, Finkelstein is a deeply polarizing figure whose struggles arise from core questions about freedom, identity and nationhood.

From Beirut to Kyoto, the filmmakers follow Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a voice among both supporters and critics, providing an intimate portrait of the man behind the controversy while giving equal time to both his critics and supporters.

Features interviews with Finkelstein, Alan Dershowitz, Noam Chomsky, John Mearsheimer, Alan Dershowitz and more.

Sunday, October 25 at Metro Cinema

2:00 pm
The Color of Olives

From Mexican director Carolina Rivas and cinematographer Daoud Sarhandi comes this elegant and visually breathtaking new film about the Palestinian experience. The Amer family lives surrounded by the infamous West Bank Wall, where their daily lives are dominated by electrified fences, locked gates and a constant swarm of armed soldiers. This unique and intimate documentary shares their private world, allowing a glimpse of the constant struggles and the small, endearing details that sustain them. The Color of Olives is an artistic and beautifully affecting reflection on the effects of racial segregation, the meaning of borders and the absurdity of war.

4:00 pm
Telling Strings

Elias Jubran is a music teacher and oud maker who has lived in Galilee since before it became part of Israel in 1948. Though his four children have grown up to live very different lives, they each share his love of music. Telling Strings examines the unique beauty of the oud and the enduring strength of Palestinian musical heritage. What is necessary so that a culture—suppressed by the Israeli State—may continue to develop itself?

6:00 pm
Beyond Blue & Gray: Portraits of Palestinian Creativity Under Occupation

Beyond Blue & Gray: Portraits of Palestinian Creativity Under Occupation discusses the relationship between conflict and creativity through various Palestinian painters, illustrators, photographers, poets and writers. A gorgeous narrative weaves through equally-gorgeous photography, visual artworks and stunning landscapes to reflect the aesthetics of the Palestinian past and present.

7:00 pm
Art & Apathy: Israeli Conscience & Culture

Shot on location in Israel, the Negev and Palestine during 2005-2006, Art & Apathy: Israeli Conscience & Culture is a journey through the world of political art in Israel, woven together through gorgeous visual and vocal compositions of courageous underground voices and mainstream artists treading the edges of controversial political conversations. Producers Habie & Shirazipourt contend it’s important that both groups of artists feel safe to express their stories truthfully—each series stands alone, holding space for the artists and their creations, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

8:30 pm
Palestine Blues

What is left for Palestinian farmers who learn that in 24-hours, the Israeli Army will confiscate their lands for the construction of “the West Bank Barrier”? Unexpectedly filled with moments of poetry and humour, Palestine Blues tells the story of a village’s confusion and desperation, their daily victories and wrenching defeats. This award-winning documentary was shot over 6 months and focuses on the farming village of Jayyous, bearing witness to the destruction of many of its homes, ancient olive groves and farmland, destroyed by Israeli bulldozers and weaponry in its inexorable charge to raise the “security” wall across Palestine.

Monday, October 26 at the Edmonton Rm, Stanley Milner Library

1:00 pm
Occupation 101

A thought-provoking and powerful documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike any other film ever produced on the conflict, Occupation 101 presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the never-ending controversy and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions.

The film covers a wide range of topics, which include the first wave of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1880’s, the 1920 tensions, the 1948 war, the 1967 war, the first Intifada of 1987, the Oslo Peace Process, Settlement expansion, the role of the United States Government, the second Intifada of 2000, the separation barrier and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, as well as many heart wrenching testimonials from victims of this tragedy.

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites—oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others—work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported. Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how—through the use of language, framing and context–the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied territories appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel’s PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics.

6:30 pm
Dinner break (a by-donation short, casual post-film & pre-speaker dinner break with tasty Middle Eastern dishes & organic produce, coordinated by the International Palestine Awareness Committee)

7:00 pm
CAN WE TALK? with special guest speaker Mordecai Briemberg

No says Canwest. No says the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC). No says Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenny and Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler. No, if the topic is Israel, its state structures, policies and actions. No, that is, if you are critical of these.

Look at Canwest’s SLAPP suit—a strategic lawsuit against public participation—to silence the authors and distributors of a parody of their Vancouver newspaper. Look at the CJC’s efforts to intimidate the United Church of Canada delegates who were considering motions to use the non-violent methods of a boycott campaign against Israel, as they were used successfully to help end apartheid in South Africa. Look at Jason Kenny’s and Irwin Cotler’s efforts to make it a criminal offence to even advocate boycott, claiming this is “anti-semitic”. What is the impact of these concerted campaigns for a democratic culture in Canada? And do we wish to submit or resist? Let’s talk about all this.

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