The 2010 Shashat film festival toured cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, targeting youth audiences as well as the general public in the belief that culture is a human right. Films were shown in9 Palestinian universities, adding this year 8 schools to its youth outreach. For further info about the 2010 Shashat film festival, see here. The full programme of the 2010 Shashat film festival is available online. Please find also an interview with the filmmaker Omaima Hamouri,see here.
To see some of the previous festival films please follow the links below:
General info about Shashat:
Shashat has outlined four areas of work in order to achieve its objectives:
- SHASHAT‘s Annual Women’s Film Festival in Palestine:
The festival is the only ongoing annual women’s film festival in the entire Arab world. It showcases the creativity of Palestinian, Arab, and international women filmmakers. The Women‘s Film Festival was first held in 2005, and has continued annually through the preceding years up until the present. The festival hosts opening screenings in four cities – Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Jerusalem, and select films proceed on a national Palestinian tour, in partnership with ten universities. The festival also holds professional filmmaker workshops, public panels and debates, and school screenings, in addition to subtitling festival films into Arabic.
- Capacity Building of the Palestinian filmmaking sector with emphasis on women filmmakers:
a. Production support, subsidized equipment use and young filmmaker training\production mentoring.
b. Promotion and networking of Palestinian cinema nationally, regionally and internationally.
c. Training Workshops and Consultancies on production, project development and funding in co-operation with international film festivals and organizations.
d. Facilitation of festival submissions and shipping.
e. Networking with regional and international film/video organizations.
- "Films for Everyone" Year-long Discussion/Screening Program:
In the belief that "culture is a human right," Shashat has held nearly 700 screenings throughout the last five years, primarily of women’s cinema, in partnership with over 100 community organizations and nine universities in towns, villages and refugee camps throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- Cultural Outreach:
a. Film Library: Shashat has founded three de-centralized film libraries in different sites to address the lack of mobility in Palestine – Shashat\Ramallah in the mid-West Bank region, An-Najah National University\Nablus in the North and Bethlehem Peace Center\Bethlehem in the South.
b. Research and Publications.
c. Weekly Cinè-Club curated screenings\discussions, "Film Conversations" featuring masterpieces of world cinema to promote awareness of the international film heritage.
INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR OF ‘THE BROTHER AND THE SISTER’ OMAIMA HAMOURI
As part of the Shashat’s 2010 program Omaima Hamouri participated in Shashat’s workshops and contributed the short movie “The Brother and the Sister” (7:25min, Arabic with English subtitles, 2010) to the film festival. The movie deals with the different standards inside Palestinian families and in the overall society when it comes to the acceptance for a son or a daughter of having a relationship. Omaima Hamouri allowed a very personal setting for this movie when she brought the camera into her own house in Jerusalem with her own family as real life actors.
Q: Omaima, what does filmmaking and especially your last film “The brother and the Sister” mean to you as a female Palestinian filmmaker?
The last film that I did was with the Swedish-Palestinian cooperation. It was very hard to find the idea and when I found it, it was really hard to convince my brother to talk. Actually I didn’t tell him what it is and what we are talking about. It was like, we are just going to talk and he said “No, I don’t like the idea”, so I said “We don’t go so far”. In the end he did it as a favour for me.
Well, as a female Palestinian filmmaker I express personal feelings in my films, but I guess that they are really connected to the rest of Palestinian females, but I think that I talk on behalf of all the Palestinian girls when I say that I want to love and want love in return and to have a relationship just as other guys can do that. I think it was the first time that I expressed the feelings of all the Palestinian girls. So I think filmmaking is something to express myself but at the same time speak for the people that live around me.
Q: Your movie “The Brother and the Sister” shows the different standard of daughters and sons or men and female in having the chance to be in a relationship. How do you evaluate this situation and what does it mean to put it on screen?
I had a problem meeting my boyfriend, talking to him, so I had this problem of inequity like one of this taboos to have a boyfriend. At the same time I saw my brother having a girlfriend. He loves her, he talks to her whenever he wants. It was kind of unfair and weird. So I thought of this idea: I am trying to tell my brother that I want a solution for this. So asking my brother, or mostly trying to have a conversation about this specific topic and it was weird, because I never thought that after this film my relationship to my brother would be even stronger. Having the opportunity to talk about these private things like love, boyfriend and girlfriend. Having this opportunity to talk with him opened other topics to talk about. I really would like to advice every girl – although I don’t know how hard it is – to take this task to tell her brother. It doesn’t have to be this private, maybe to talk with him about the ability of loving and not having a boyfriend, just loving. I think this is a really surprising result of this.
Q: You chose a very private setting for the movie. It was your family, your brother, your father, and your mother on the screen. You could have chosen actors for doing this. How do you feel when you see your own family on the screen?
It was really hard, especially in the editing. I didn’t know from where to start and in general it is very hard to edit someone who is close to you and all the time they were advising me not to see the film by myself, to have someone else with me to see, because I will always find the negative things about the film. So it was really hard to see my family on the screen, especially my brother. It was really hard for me to talk with him about anything but this thing. In general I mean. So it was really strange to me when I saw him talking about things. We shot two hours of conversation between me and my brother and just listening to what he said was amazing.
Q: Do you think that the situation in your family is a typical example of Palestinian society or other families?
Not really. My father is really open-minded; he is the one that I am talking to about all my secrets. But I have my brother who shows the real society out there. When he talked, he didn’t talk about himself, as you can see in the film. He just showed the society.
Q: So you don’t think that it was his own opinion?
No, I don’t think so. When we talked, he was just telling:”What do you think people would say. You live in a society and you can’t see this.” You can see this in his talking. So it wasn’t him putting this restriction. Just because he doesn’t want his friends to say this. Just he doesn’t want the people to say that he doesn’t take care of his sister or something like this. And I really know that inside him he is really afraid. He doesn’t want anything to hurt me. It’s a little bit hard. Why can you live your life and love and do whatever you want just because you are a guy and it is different for a girl. I can’t do these things. This is a little bit unfair.
Q: What about you future plans? What are you currently working on?
A week ago I was still shooting a film. It’s a drama film and it’s the first time for me to do a drama film. It is a short movie. It is also about girls. It is really not a funny film. It is talking about the imagination of the girl. How she imagine things. It is talking in general about waiting, waiting for someone. This is the main topic and inside this topic we have the imagination of the girl and the communication between the girls and the boys in this society where it is hard for a girl to communicate with a guy and vice versa; it is really hard for him, because of the society’s construction. It is also really hard for him to communicate with a girl. So kind of strange the film I think, I wish that you will like it.
Thank you very much for your time Omaima and in the name of Heinrich Böll Foundation Arab Middle East office I wish you all the best for your future.
(interview conducted by Christian Melchert)