The third annual Red Carpet human rights film festival has now gotten underway in Palestine, and will be held in the Gaza Strip to showcase films about the lost rights of the Palestinian people. The festival will last for six days between 12-17 May.
The opening ceremony held last night on the first day of the festival took place in Gaza's seaport on the fishermen's wharf. Though based in Gaza, the festival will be held simultaneously in the cities of Ramallah and Haifa.
Some of the festival's films will be screened across five capital cities across the Arab world in solidarity with Gaza, the Palestinian people and in support of the Red Carpet Festival. The rest of the festival's films will be screened at the Al-Misshal Cultural Centre in Gaza, with free and open public access.
The Red Carpet Festival is being held in the Gaza Strip for the third year in a row, amid international and Arab attention. This year, the hashtag of the festival will be "Let's return", which coincides with one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration began the process of dispossessing the Palestinian people from their land.
The opening ceremony featured participants, who are ordinary people, walking along a 100-metre long red carpet, that symbolises the 100 years since the British declaration. The text of the Balfour Declaration will also be printed on the carpet.
The Red Carpet Festival aims to mark the right of return, the release of hunger strikers imprisoned in Israeli jails, the return of national unity, the end of the internal division between Palestinian factions and the return of the stable lives that Palestinians used to have.
The festival was held for the first time in 2015 amidst the rubble of houses destroyed by the Israeli occupation in Gaza's Shujaiya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City.
At the beginning of this year, the Red Carpet Festival won full membership in the Amsterdam-based International Network of Human Rights Film Festivals. The Red Carpet is now the 42nd festival which represents the State of Palestine.