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El Gouna Film Festival 2023: Dedicates Special Program to Palestinian Cinema

December 13, 2023

After being previously postponed due to the tragic events unfolding in Gaza, the sixth edition of the Gouna Film Festival (GFF) is dedicating a special program ‘Window on Palestine’ to celebrate Palestinian cinema.

Scheduled to run from 14 December until 21 December, this year’s special edition will see a collaboration between GFF and the Palestinian Film Institute (PFI) to showcase a selection of films on Palestine — inviting audiences to seep into the unseen lives and untold stories of the Palestinian people.

“Through these compelling films, we aim to open a window into the rich and complex tapestry of Palestinian life. It is our hope that these stories will resonate with audiences, fostering empathy and understanding. By providing a platform for these voices, we contribute to a broader conversation about the shared human experiences that connect us all,” Festival Director Intishal Al Timimi said in a statement.

The PFI was established in 2019 as a voluntary and independent non-profit organization that aims to amplify the voices of Palestinian film professionals and to develop, promote, and empower the Palestinian film industry regionally and internationally.

Since its inception in 2017, the festival has strived to expand on its mission of showcasing a distinct selection of films, connecting filmmakers from around the region and bridging cultural gaps through the art of filmmaking.

The festival is also hosting a fundraising dinner that aims to gather donations for humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent.

Originally scheduled to take place from 13 October until 20 October, the GFF postponed its annual event citing the outbreak of the war on Gaza. In a statement, the Festival organizers also announced that they will donate EGP 5 million (USD 161,000) to fortify the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in partnership with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society.”

Through the art of filmmaking, these films aim to enlighten and shed light on the plight of the Palestinian people — here are the 10 films that will be showcased as part of the GFF’s ‘Window on Palestine lineup from 14 to 21 December.

Ambulance | directed by Mohamed Jabaly | (2016)
Palestinian fillmamker’s ‘Ambulance’ is a personal narrative that recounts the events of the 2014 war on Gaza, delving into the underlying stories that perpetuate the cycle of violence.

Condom Lead | directed by Arab and Tarzan Nasser | (2013)
Directed by Palestinian twins Arab and Tarzan Nasser, ‘Condom Lead’ portrays the Gaza War with a comedic twist, showcasing the challenges faced by a married Palestinian couple attempting intimacy amidst disruptive Israeli shelling

Bye Bye Tiberias | directed by Lina Soualem | (2023)
French-Palestinian-Algerian actress and filmmaker portrays the personal journeys of four generations of bold Palestinian women, each leaving a mark on the world despite their scattered identities.

Drawing for Better Dreams | directed by May Odeh | (2015)
In her short film ‘Drawing for Better Dreams’ director May Odeh depicts the struggles of Palestinian children, and how they cope with their crayon drawings.

Bab El Shams | Gate of Sun | directed by Yousry Nasrallah | (2004)
Based on the novel by Elias Khoury, Egyptian director’s adaptation of Bab El Shams (Gate of Sun) tells the story of Palestinian history, hope, and love.

Not Just Your Picture | directed by Anne Paq and Dror Dayan | (2021)
Directed and produced by Anne Paq and Dror Dayan, ‘Not Just Your Picture’ tells the story of two young German-Palestinian siblings who had their life shattered by the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza during the summer of 2014.

Roof Knocking | directed by Sina Salim | (2017)
‘Roof Knocking’ is a powerful film directed by Palestinian filmmaker Sina Salimi that tells how before bombing a civilian area, the Israeli military calls the inhabitants to inform them their house is getting bombed in 10 mins — they call it roof knocking.

Shujayya | (Son of the Streets) directed by Mohammed Almughanni| (2016)
Mohammed Almughanni’s short film ‘Shujayya’ sheds light on the members of a Gazan family who are thrown into disarray following a series of attacks that destroyed their homes.

The Teacher | directed by Farah Nabulsi | (2023)
‘The Teacher’ explores the daily challenges and anger felt by Palestinians, depicting the consequences of residing in an environment where individuals with firearms determine one’s actions and dictate the parameters of how one can or cannot lead their life.

To My Father | directed by Abdelsalam Shehadeh | (2008)
Abdelsalam Shehadeh’s ‘To My Father’ examines the history of Palestinians and Arabs, contemplating the transformative influence of photography.

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