This year, the festival kicks off with 'Alam', a coming-of-age socio-political drama directed by Firas Khoury.
Palestinian Film Festival Australia (PFFA) has announced its lineup for the 12th edition, featuring a diverse selection of films that span Australian premieres, critically acclaimed features, and groundbreaking documentaries.
The festival, which will explore universal themes of people, place, and politics, is set to captivate audiences across five major Australian cities with the finest Palestinian films. PFFA’s 12th edition will take place in Sydney from October 13 to 15, followed by screenings in Brisbane from October 20 to 22, Melbourne from October 26 to 29, Perth from October 27 to 29, and Canberra from October 27 to 29.
The main purpose of this film festival is to educate audiences on Palestinian life, art, and culture through creative and thought-provoking storytelling.
Speaking about the event, Naser Shakhtour, the Festival’s Director, said: “We’re stoked to present our exciting 12th festival! This year’s programme celebrates the power of truth-telling in the healing and building of resilient communities. With award-winning films set inside historic Palestine as well as abroad in Palestinian diaspora communities, we have painstakingly and proudly picked a programme that reflects the stories and experiences of Palestinian communities while also responding to the interests and feedback of our ever-growing festival audience.”
Kicking off the festival this year is the coming-of-age socio-political drama Alam (Flag), directed by Firas Khoury. Alam tells the story of Tamer, a Palestinian teenager who experiences a political awakening sparked by an attractive outspoken new girl at his school.
Firas Khoury added: “In this film, I wish to give prominence to the Palestinian youth, who have willingly and despite all chosen to turn their peaceful struggle against injustice their primary vocation. High school students with courageous souls have become a great source of inspiration to me since I began following and observing them in recent years. My aim in this film is to expose their struggle to define and reinvent themselves and bring forth their personal story. I wish to show the world that a Palestinian teenager is no different from any other around the world, they have similar dreams and aspirations, and they seek to embark on new experiences, to find love and recognition while transforming into adults.”
The PFFA 2023 programme also includes films that have garnered recognition at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals. Among them is A Gaza Weekend by Basil Khalil, winner of the International Federation of Film Critics Prize at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
On its way to Venice for the 2024 Oscars is Palestine’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film category, Bye Bye Tiberias, directed by Palestinian-Algerian-French filmmaker Lina Soualem. Bye Bye Tiberias, a documentary released in 2023, follows the journey of Lina Soualem’s (famous) mother, Hiam Abbass, as she leaves her Palestinian village to chase her dream of becoming an actress, leaving behind her mother, grandmother, and sisters.
Other films include the supernatural drama A House In Jerusalem, directed by Muayad Alayan; the documentary Twelve Beds, directed by Reine Mitri; and Lovesick in the West Bank, directed by Said Zagha.
With a selection of 11 films that tell the story of Palestine and its people, the Palestinian Film Festival Australia promises an engaging and thought-provoking cinematic experience for its audience in 2023.