Oct. 8 to 17 marked the 15th year of the Boston Palestine Film Festival, the annual presentation of a collection of films created by and centering Palestinians. This year’s lineup included mostly documentaries and narrative features, including seven longer films and a selection of 19 shorts. Most of the films this year were featured online as an ongoing virtual showing throughout the festival, with a final live presentation of the closing film — the festival’s first in-person event in over two years.
Executive Committee Member Michael Maria noted the benefits of the festival being largely online, namely accessibility and the broader audience the films were now able to reach, in a speech made during the live presentation. He went on to explain why the committee had worked so hard to ensure there would also be a live screening featured this year.
“[There is] an importance to witnessing and experiencing Palestinian stories together,” he said.
This festival provides an essential outlet for Palestinians to craft their own narrative, a vital reprieve from the Westernized portrayal that so thoroughly dominates in the media and beyond. This year’s festival included a diverse line up, from everyday slices of life, to a coming out story and documentations of the history and culture of the Palestinian people.
Three stand-out pieces were “Three Logical Exits,” “Angel of Gaza” and “Gaza Mon Amour.” “Three Logical Exits” was a haunting portrayal of life as a Palestinian in Lebanese refugee camps, depicting the three paths young men are forced to choose from as a way to cope with the trauma, poverty and violence that so fully infiltrates every aspect of their lives. This short narrative feature is also available to watch on Netflix. “Angel of Gaza,” which was presented as part of its world premiere, tells the story of a family in Gaza attempting to reunite with their father who has been forced to seek asylum in America. “Gaza Mon Amour” was presented at the live showing in Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, and is the funny and sweet slice-of-life of an everyday fisherman as he navigates love, life and the mysterious appearance of a Greek statue he drags up with his daily catch.
The Boston Palestine Film Festival is part of the larger non-profit Middle East Charitable and Cultural Society Inc and is overseen by an entirely volunteer-based committee in order to preserve the continuation of this festival and conservation of Palestinian culture.The Middle East Charitable and Cultural Society hosts a series of other events throughout the year, hoping to bring Palestinian stories and heritage to people across New England.