Assessing the 2016 edition and announcing the 3rd edition from 2nd to 11th June 2017

The Palestinian Film Festival, made to last!

In the wake of the great success of the inaugural film festival in 2015, the second Palestinian Film Festival (‘FCP’) has followed suit with equal success from 23 May to 5 June 2016 in Paris and its surrounding districts. FCP shows that our initiative to disseminate and support Palestinian cinema is growing rapidly.

FCP in figures: an illustration of the success of the 2016 festival.

Over the two-week long festival, a total of 2,300 spectators attended 21 screenings and watched 30 films (14 feature films and 16 short films).

FCP 2016 also owes its success to a wide network of reliable supporters. Twenty nine partners have worked closely with FCP to develop our initiative.

Such figures provide insight into the success of FCP in 2016, but behind them, we also recognise the wonderful human adventure of devoted people working towards a common goal. Despite our relatively limited resources, we have managed to transform the two-week programme of Palestinian films into a forum offering an unforgettable opportunity to meet others, and exchange ideas and opinions, thanks to all the men and women who have supported and worked with us to develop this independent initiative.

We would like to thank all the people, associations, partners, supporters, public, volunteers, donors, journalists and artists who have contributed to our success, and helped FCP become an event not to be missed! First of all, a special mention must be made of the patrons, who have endorsed FCP with the hallmark of a major cultural and artistic event. We have been honoured to welcome some of them during FCP 2016: Ken Loach, Costa Gavras, Eyal Sivan, Raed Andoni, Michel Khleifi, Elli Medeiros, Rana Alamuddin, Robert Guédiguian, Licia Eminenti, Hala Alabdalla, and Garance Clavel.

We wish to extend a warm and sincere thank you to the following artists, who joined us and accompanied us during the festival and ensured that talks with the public were of the highest calibre: Mai Masri (3000 Nights), Marah Zahalka and Betty Saadeh (Speed Sisters), Hani Zurob (Mars at Sunrise), Ahmed Saleh (House), Salim Abu Jabal (Roshmia), Michel Khleifi (The Michel Khleifi Retrospective, and Focus on Memoire and Archives), Ahmed Al Rokh (Journey of a Freedom Fighter and The Idol), Khadijeh Habashneh (They Do Not Exist), Muayad Alayan (Love, Theft and Other Entanglements and Lesh Sabreen?), Arab and Tarzan Nasser (Gaza 36mm), Basil Khalil (Ave Maria).

We were very fortunate that such prestigious artists were present throughout the festival, making it all the more enjoyable and lively! We would also like to thank our special guests, who moderated the discussions after screenings: Leila Shahid, Eyal Sivan, Denis Sieffert, Alain Gresh, Dominique Vidal, Pierre Puchot, Nadir Dendoune, Houda Ibrahim, Marion Slitine, and two associations: Friends of Al-Rowwad and Friends of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin.

May we extend our gratitude to our many partners (29!) who have helped, supported and  advised us and made this vast project possible. A special thank you to our partners in the media: Politis, Saphir News, Palestine Media Agency, Ballast, Radio Orient and Mediapart, for attending the festival, and in particular for their valuable coverage.

We are also very grateful to the institutions with whom we have been able to build more and more effective partnerships, including the French Consulate in Jerusalem, the University of Paris 8 in Saint-Denis, its film department (ESTCA), and its student initiative funding programme (FSDIE), the University of Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle and its Cinema and Audiovisual Research Institute (IRCA), the Institut du monde arabe in Paris - host to the memorable opening night, the Aubervilliers Town Hall, and the Palestinian Mission in France.

Our appreciation goes out to the many associations and NGOs, which have supported us financially and materially, as well as in marketing: the Foundation Un Monde par tous, Friends of Al Rowwad, Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCHD-Terre Solidaire), French Jewish Union for Peace (UJFP), Association de l'Autre Champ, French-Palestinian Solidarity Association (France-Palestine solidarité (Paris-centre)), the Collectif Palestine Paris 8, the Union Syndicale Solidaire (especially the SudPTT Federation), Artists for Palestine, and the Grand Bouillon Café - host to our closing night party. We have also been privileged to work with the Palestinian production companies Idioms Film, Odeh Films and Philistine Films, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to them.

A special thank you to our friends at Luminor Cinema in Paris, MJC Cinema in Argenteuil, Le Studio Cinema in Aubervilliers, and the film department of the University of Paris 8 in Saint-Denis for generously offering to host the festival with the utmost professionalism. We have also been fortunate enough to work with Films d’ici, a production company, and JHR Films, a distribution company, for three of the screenings of Mai Masri’s magnificent film ‘3000 Nights’. We wish Mai Masri’s film all the success it deserves.

We are indebted to the support received from our 91 donors who responded to our crowd funding campaign. Such contributions are precious to us because they represent our second most important source of financing. The donations have been used for financing film distribution rights, travel expenses for the artists, and festival marketing.

FCP 2016 owes it success to the support of so many volunteers, who ensured that screenings ran smoothly, and eased the burden of the festival’s organizational committee. We must thank our translators, photographers, and video makers for investing their time and talent in FCP.

Finally, we owe a big thank you to the public, without whom FCP would not have been the success it was. Thanks to the numbers who turned out and embraced Palestinian cinema with enthusiasm and passion, we can draw on the positive results of this year’s festival, and continue to showcase Palestinian film in an even more ambitious way.

We look forward to seeing you all again in 2017 to celebrate Palestinian cinema which, year after year, is marked by a string of artistic successes and increasing renown throughout the world.

The organizational committee of FCP 2016

Festival Ciné Palestine ©