Following a request made by Palestinian directors, the organisers of Festival Ciné-Palestine (FCP) incorporated two full industry days into their programme; they were designed to be a space where French, Palestinian and international professionals could exchange ideas and debate their films.
As Palestinians from the diaspora cannot all travel to Palestine the FCP is held in the French capital Paris. It aims to increase the visibility of French cinema and is part of Palestinian cultural resistance.
This year’s festival coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe) when hundreds of villages were destroyed, thousands killed and over 750,000 people displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Palestinian directors have used film to tell of the collective trauma of exile and dispossession.
Films are historical documents, says Ossama Bawardi who produced Annemarie Jacir’s award-winning “Wajib”:
“Palestinians are left with memories. We lost our land, we still have the memory of the land and the will to go back. Film is part of this memory, it builds this memory and preserves it then festivals like this keep it present.”
Film is an important tool to relay the Palestinian experience to the world, said Bastien Gauclère, former audiovisual officer of the French General Consulate in Jerusalem:
“When you see what’s going on in Gaza the power to show those stories is one of the most useful weapons [Palestinians] have today to defend themselves.”