Festival Ciné-Palestine 2017: a third successful annual film festival
With a record turnout of more than 2,700 festivalgoers at this year’s FCP which ran from 2 June to 11 June 2017, the Festival has developed an image as a must-see Parisian cultural event. FCP has become the ideal forum in Paris and Seine Saint-Denis for promoting and disseminating Palestinian films.
Some figures from this brilliant edition
Again this year, Festival Ciné-Palestine (Palestinian Film Festival in Paris) met the challenge of highlighting the diversity, vitality and quality of Palestinian cinema. This third annual festival was marked by a significant increase in audience numbers. In 2016, the second annual festival brought together 2,300 spectators over a two-week programme. This year, numbers increased significantly to nearly 2,700 people attending the different cinematographic and cultural events over ten days of festivities.
As in the past, FCP 2017 provided a rich and varied programme that only the Palestinian artistic scene can offer. More than one generation of Palestinian and international film directors met the Festival’s public who came to see 27 films. They enjoyed 19 screenings in our five partner venues, Luminor Hotel de Ville and Les 3 Luxembourg in Paris, Le Méliès in Montreuil, Ecran in Saint Denis, and Le Studio in Aubervilliers, many of which screened to full houses.
On the programme this year: 14 full-length feature films and 13 short films, including many documentaries, fiction films or animation movies, offering multiple artistic viewpoints concerning Palestine. For this third edition, the programme has been enriched with: two themes in focus, the Mohammad Bakri retrospective and cross perspectives on 1967; Mohammad Bakri’s masterclass; two concerts and an open air screening in the evening. For the first time in its history, FCP organized a short film competition rewarding the talent of young Palestinian film-makers.
Highlights of the third Palestinian Film Festival in Paris
Opening night concert
The festivities of this third FCP began on 31 May with an exceptional opening night concert at the Marbrerie in Montreuil. More than 450 spectators let themselves be carried away by a line-up that had never been on the same billing before, honoring the growing alternative Arab music scene: DJ Missy Ness and SAMA’ as well as the group 47SOUL.
Mohammad Bakri retrospective
After the retrospectives devoted to the careers of Hany Abu-Assad and Michel Khleifi during the first two annual film festivals, FCP has dedicated this year’s festival to the works of Mohammad Bakri, another firm favorite in the Palestinian film industry.
A masterclass was held for the very first time, in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, hosted by the eminent journalist and film critic, Houda Ibrahim, during which Mohammad Bakri looked back on the high spots of his career as a stage actor and film actor.
Cross perspectives on 1967 in focus
Cross perspectives on 1967 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Six-day War in 1967 and the ensuing occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Old Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.
Filmed between 1972 and 2016 by more than one generation of film-makers, six films were in focus, each showing a different vision of the way the Palestinian people, their society and the Arab world have lived through this war and its consequences. This was also an opportunity to raise many very interesting questions on the evolution of the way this historical event has been portrayed on film over time
Inauguration of the First Short Film Competition
This year was marked by a very important and ambitious initiative: the very first FCP Short Film Competition, which rewards the creativity of the new generation of Palestinian film-makers. The organizing committee received more than thirty entries from which five short films were selected.
The documentary The Living of the pigeons (2015, 16’) was acclaimed by an exceptional jury, composed of artists and other members of the film industry, making Baha’ Abu Shanab, the first director to receive the Jury Prize. The Public Choice Award went to Fadi Idris for his documentary Six Fingers (2016, 20’).
Throughout the festival, our media partner, Mediapart, provided its subscribers with the opportunity to discover the five films in competition. Such an initiative corresponds to the willingness of FCP to make the French public aware of the quality of Palestinian cinema.
With a view to encouraging and accompanying this emerging generation of film-makers, FCP intends to renew and enhance this competition during future festivals.
Open air cinema
On 9 June 2017, with the help of our partners Ecran cinema, Voyageur cinema and the Saint-Denis Town Hall, FCP organized a free open air screening of the documentary Gaza Surf Club (2016) by Philipp Gnad and Mickey Yamine.
The screening was preceded by a concert by Naïssam Jalal and Osloob, and a Palestinian meal prepared by the Palestinian chef Rania Talala, with the help of the Les Tabliers Volants Association. This meal was served to a crowd of more than 300.
This open air event, which was well received by the public, is the answer to FCP’s ambition to have Palestinian cinema discovered by as many people as possible. In particular, the event attracted a large crowd of on-lookers, some of whom then attended screenings in Aubervilliers on the week-end of closing night.
A platform for promoting Palestinian cinema
The organizing committee decided to place the accent on its marketing strategy so as to showcase the works and artists at the heart of FCP. Our increased presence on social networks is proof of our willingness to interact more with the public, artists and media. FCP has nearly 8,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and Youtube. FCP’s new logo and branding designed by the graphic artist, Walid Bouchouchi, has without a doubt contributed to an increase in visibility of the Festival.
This strategy appears to be aimed in the right direction. The third annual film festival has benefitted from wide media coverage, highlighting the growing interest it has now generated. The organizing committee takes particular care to organize as many interviews and meetings as possible between media and artists, so that their voice can be heard and the French public can get to know them.
This year in addition to our existing precious media partners, Monte Carlo Doualiya (MCD), Middle East Monitor, TV5 Monde and France 24 have each contributed to widen significantly our audiences and the notoriety of FCP geographically, language wise and through dissemination. Each media partner has admirably transcribed the incredible atmosphere of this brilliant third Festival of Palestinian Film in Paris and offered our guests unique opportunities in which to work.
Enhancing the role of FCP as a platform for promoting and disseminating Palestinian films
Since its inception, the festival has skillfully played a role in uniting Palestinian artists. Breaking down barriers, FCP has turned itself into a true rallying point for an increasing number of artists. This very moving and enriching social contact is motivation enough for the members of the committee to pursue in years to come the growing and lively Festival of Palestinian Film in Paris Festival.
The FCP organizing committee intends to take a major role in accompanying creation, production and dissemination of Palestinian cinema. With a view to establishing long-lasting relations with the key players of the French and Palestinian film industries, the aim of the next festivals will be to offer Professional Days.
Next year the organizing committee’s ambition is to set up round tables and workshops so as to identify issues of Palestinian cinematographic creativity and discuss its perspectives for the future. By offering this environment which is ideal for exchanging experiences, a further aim of FCP is to become an incubator for projects involving film.
Organizing Committee FCP 2017