Tuesday 16th October, 5pm, St John’s College Auditorium, St John’s College, Oxford

Keynote Lecture:

Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)

‘Palestinian Cinema: Archive, Politics, Aesthetics’

Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. A prolific cultural commentator in the fields of Middle Eastern literature, film and politics, he is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and of the Centre for Palestine Studies, both at Columbia. His work has been integral to the development of scholarship on Palestinian cinema: he is founder of Dreams of a Nation, a Palestinian Film Project dedicated to preserving and safeguarding Palestinian cinema, and his edited volume, Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema, was the first major multiple-author treatment of the subject in any language. Professor Dabashi will deliver the Keynote Lecture with which the Oxford Palestine Film Season opens: an exploration of ‘archive, politics and aesthetics’ in Palestinian cinema. The session will be introduced and chaired by Dr Mohamed-Salah Omri of St John’s College and the Oriental Institute, Oxford. Followed by a reception. Particular thanks to St John’s College for their support of this evening’s event.


Wednesday 17th October, 5pm, English Faculty Lecture Theatre 2

Mai Masri (director)

Speaking on ‘Home, Exile, Belonging’ and screening her film, ‘Frontiers of Dreams and Fears’

Mai Masri is a Palestinian filmmaker who received her BA from San Francisco State University. She has directed and produced several award-winning documentaries that have been broadcast on more than 100 television stations worldwide including PBS, BBC, Channel 4, France 2, SBS, RAI, NHK, and Aljazeera. She founded Nour Productions in 1995 with her husband, filmmaker Jean Chamoun. Her films have received more than 60 international awards including the Mipdoc Trailblazer award in Cannes in 2011, the Asia-Pacific Screen Award in Australia (2007), and the One World Award in London (1996). This evening, Masri will screen her documentary film, ‘Frontiers of Dreams and Fears’, which offers a poignant insight into the lives, dreams and emerging friendship of two young Palestinian girls, each growing up in separate refugee camps. She will also speak about the major themes of ‘home, exile and belonging’ that inform this film, and her filmmaking more broadly. Session will be chaired by Dr Anna Ball, Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies, Nottingham Trent University. Followed by a reception.


Monday 29th October, 5pm, Simpkins Lee Lecture Theatre, Lady Margaret Hall.

Screening: ‘Zindeeq’, directed by Michel Khleifi

Followed by post-screening discussion with Michel Khleifi

Michel Khleifi is a founding figure in Palestinian cinema, and has directed some of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved works in the field, including Wedding in Galilee, the first Palestinian film shot inside historical Palestine by a Palestinian film director, and winner of the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes and the Golden Concha, San Sebastian, and the ground-breaking documentary, Fertile Memory. This evening’s screening presents a rare opportunity to watch Khleifi’s latest film, ‘Zindeeq’ (winner of the Muhr Award for Best Feature Film, Dubai International Film Festival), which tells the story of a Palestinian filmmaker living in Europe who returns to film testimonies from survivors of the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their land, yet finds himself embroiled in a family vendetta in his native Nazareth which takes him on a painful journey to his past. The evening includes a post-screening discussion / Q&A session with Michel Khleifi, who will be joined by his colleague and, for the evening, translator, Omar Al-Qattan. Event chaired by Mohamed-Salah Omri. Followed by a reception. Particular thanks to the School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University, for their support of this event.       


Tuesday 30th October, 5pm, St John’s College Auditorium, St John’s College, Oxford

Omar Al-Qattan (director)

Speaking on ‘Revisiting the Question of Political Islam’ and screening his film, ‘Dreams and Silence’

Omar Al-Qattan is a leading figure in Palestinian filmmaking, and in the support and promotion of Palestinian cultural activity more broadly. He has directed numerous dramas and documentaries, including Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. In 1991, he co-founded (with Khleifi) the production company Sourat (now Sindibad) Films. Since 1998, while continuing to work in film, he joined with his family to found the A.M.Qattan Foundation, which has become Palestine’s leading independent cultural and educational organization and one of the most distinguished in the Arab World.  This evening,  Al-Qattan screens his documentary, ‘Dreams and Silence’, which won the Joris Ivens Award in 1991.  Shot during the weeks preceding the Gulf War, the film is a portrait of a Palestinian woman refugee in Jordan and her struggles with the religious and social constraints around her at a time of great tension and anguish. Al-Qattan will also speak about one of the key issues that surfaces within his film, which continues to resonate with the contemporary Palestinian landscape: that of political Islam. The session will be chaired by Karim Mattar, Oxford University. Followed by a reception. Particular thanks to St John’s College for their support of this evening’s event.


Monday 12th November, 5pm, English Faculty Lecture Theatre 2

Annemarie Jacir (director)

Speaking on her filmmaking practice and screening her film, ‘like twenty impossibles’

Annemarie Jacir is a pioneer filmmaker in the region and part of a new wave of Arab filmmakers working in the region. Named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema and Variety’s “Rab Pack: The Arab New Wave”, two of her films have premiered as Official Selections at the Cannes Film Festival, one as an Academy Award finalist, and one in Venice. Her first feature film, Salt of this Sea (Cannes 2008), was Palestine’s Oscar Entry for Best Foreign Film and was noted as the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman. Salt of this Sea won the prestigious FIPRESCI Critic’s Prize, amongst other awards. Annemarie teaches screenwriting and works as an editor and film curator, actively promoting independent cinema.  This evening, she will speak about her filmmaking practice, including her new film, ‘When I Saw You’, and will screen her short film, ‘like twenty impossibles’, which explores artistic responsibility, the politics of filmmaking and the fragmentation of the Palestinian people in a way that is at once visually poetic and wryly interrogative. Chaired by Dr Karma Nabulsi, Oxford. Followed by a reception.


Tuesday 13th November, 5pm, English Faculty Lecture Theatre 2

Lecture from Dr Karma Nabulsi and screening of Elia Suleiman’s ‘Divine Intervention’.

Elia Suleiman’s 2002 film ‘Divine Intervention’ has come to be considered a classic of contemporary Palestinian cinema. Winner of the Jury and FIPRESCI prizes at the Cannes Film Festival 2002, ‘Divine Intervention’ also incited controversy when it was reportedly refused for nomination as Best Foreign Film in the Academy Awards on the grounds that Palestine was unrecognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Today, Suleiman’s film has come to be noted for its daring and distinctive filmic aesthetic, with draws together sketches of life for Palestinians in Nazareth that are by turns blackly comic, poignant and fantastical… Suleiman’s is a world in which apricot stones turn into grenades, and a femme fatale can topple a checkpoint watchtower with no more than a killer stare. Tonight’s screening will be accompanied by a 30-minute lecture from Dr Karma Nabulsi, Lecturer in International Relations, Fellow of St Edmund Hall and Patron of the Palestine Film Foundation.


Sunday 25th November, 5.45pm, Phoenix Picturehouse Cinema, Oxford.

*BOOKING REQUIRED*: visit the Phoenix Picturehouse website for tickets here.

Oxford premiere of ‘Five Broken Cameras’, dir. Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi +panel discussion with Anna Bernard, Avi Shlaim, Mezna Qato and Karim Mattar

At the birth of his son Gibreel, Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat is given his first movie camera and begins recording both Gibreel’s childhood and the conflict growing around them. As Israel’s controversial ‘security barrier’ is built through their village, olive groves and buildings are destroyed by Israeli troops; violent protests are even more violently suppressed, and in the process the five cameras of the title are smashed. But with the help of Jewish filmmaker Guy Davidi, the narrative also reflects moments of hope and minor triumph that underpin the determined spirit of Burnat, his family and their fellow residents. Whatever one may think about this complex and divisive issue, Burnat and Davidi’s documentary is an affecting, sometimes almost poetic study that reminds us that despite the political intransigence, the situation must be one day be resolved. 5 BROKEN CAMERAS was awarded the IFDA prize at Amsterdam Film Festival and the Audience Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest, as well as further prizes at Sundance, London Open City, and the Stranger Than Fiction Film Festival in Dublin. This Oxford premiere will be followed by a panel discussion featuring leading academics and experts in the field. Event in partnership with City Screen and the Phoenix Picturehouse Oxford.


 Monday 26th November, 5pm, English Faculty Lecture Theatre 2.

Bruce Robbins (Columbia University)

Screening and discussion of his documentary film, ‘Some of My Best Friends Are Zionists’.

‘Some of My Best Friends Are Zionists’ is the working title of a film-in-progress about how a growing number of American Jews have moved away from the instinctive support for Israel in which they were most often raised.  In interviews with some well-known figures like the playwright Tony Kushner, the philosopher Judith Butler, the novelist Gary Shteyngart, the physicist Alan Sokal, and the filmmaker James Schamus, as well as some less illustrious but more representative people, it shows the various personal routes and difficulties by which they arrived at the critical positions they now hold.  This is a first film by literature professor Bruce Robbins (Old Dominion Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University), who shared responsibility for the 2002 and 2006 initiative “Open Letter from American Jews to Our Government,” a series of full-page ads in the New York Times and other publications. The evening will consist of a screening of the film, accompanied by Robbins presenting and discussing his work. Followed by a reception.

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