The human rights film festival sends a message that Gaza is not just a strip of flattened homes, poverty and militants, as the media tends to portray it, says one of the organizers. ‘The people of Gaza are human beings, who love life, who seek peace, and who want to go to the movies, to live normal lives.’
While Israeli entertainment reporters have been busy covering the DocAviv documentary film festival in Tel Aviv in recent days, but nearby, another rather exceptional film festival came to a close Thursday evening in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City — a festival dedicated entirely to films about human rights.
Shujaiyeh, where the festival was held, was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting and destruction during last summer’s Gaza war, in which Israel flattened large swaths of the crowded neighborhood. Some 100 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed there on July 20, 2014. Many of those killed and injured were women and children.
I spoke with festival organizer Saud Aburamadan, a veteran journalist and resident of Gaza on Thursday — in Hebrew.
Saud, tell me a little about the festival, please.
This is the first film festival held in Gaza, ever. A group of filmmakers and journalists in Gaza, who aren’t affiliated with any [political] organization organized the unusual festival, out of the belief that everyone deserves a bit of dignity and quiet.
The director of the festival is Palestinian filmmaker Khalil al-Muzain, and the Jordanian Karma Film Festival sponsored us. We have films from Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and other countries. There are 180 films, 28 of which were selected by the professional committee to be screened over the past three days.