Reel Palestine Film Festival hosted its fifth edition at Cinema Akil in Al Serkal Avenue in Dubai. The annual festival showcases independent, non-commercial films about Palestine from January 18-26.
“The main objective of the Festival is to open a new door to the Palestinian cause, creating new moments and feelings to allow viewers to live the details of the human reality faced by all Palestinians under the rubble of occupation,” said Dana Sadek, one of the founders of Reel Palestine Film Festival. Sadek and her friends Noura Husseiny and Nadia Roushdy came up with the idea after watching news about the war in Gaza. The Festival addresses topics related to culture and heritage and is meant to shed light on the psychological and social suffering of the Palestinian people. It also features Palestinian arts, crafts, traditional clothes and other cultural works that showcase Palestinian heritage. “The movies helped me a lot in my recognition and understanding of the Palestinian heritage and civilization, despite not being able to visit Palestine,” said Sadek.
The organization of the festival depends on a number of young volunteers, who contribute their time and effort to keep it going. Sadek and her partners are keen to select the best movies for the festival. “We start searching for movies in festivals and institutions that offer grants to filmmakers. We look for contemporary art films made by Palestinian artists or movies that are about the Palestinian cause.”
Among the films that were screened this year was the movie “The Tower,” directed by Mats Grorud and “The Wall’ by Cam Christiansen. There are also some movies that focus on Palestinian women from the perspective of power and authority, such as the film “The Judge” which is about the first woman judge in the courts in Palestine. Also, the movie ‘What Walaa Wants ‘ by Christy Garland tells the story of a Palestinian girl who dreams of becoming a police woman.
The Festival this year didn’t offer free access to all. They decided to sell tickets to support filmmakers. Reel Palestine were offering free movies in previous editions, but explained that this year that they needed funds to expand the festival and pay fees.”