Organized by the Malatya Metropolitan Municipality with contributions by the Culture and Tourism Ministry's General Directorate of Cinema and the Malatya governorate between Nov. 9 and Nov. 15, the 8th Malatya Film Festival offered a rich program of film screenings and parallel events.
As one of the side events of the festival, the "Cinema of Palestine Panel" was held. Before that the panel "Writing on Snow," which is a Palestinian production directed by Rashid Masharawi, was screened. Moderated by Rıza Oylum, the panel was conducted with the participation of Lina Bokhary, the director of the Palestinian Culture Ministry's Cinema Department.
The panel started with Rıza Oylum's speech that summarized the current situation of cinema in Palestine. Presenting Lina Bokhary as "the person who introduced the cinema of Palestine to the world and made the world focused on it," he added, "The cinema of Palestine is the cinema of resistance, the fight and existence. With the rise of political consciousness in the 1970s, it became more apparent. The leading films could be released just after 2000. Today, the cinema of Palestine is based on three factors: Israeli passports and the Palestinian directors who have to provide Israel passports, an art environment created by people who were deterritorialized by Israel and live in camps and lastly comes the cinema of the diaspora, made by people who generally live in Western countries, the U.S. or Australia and busy with festival organizations."
Taking the floor, Lina Bokhary expressed her happiness about being in Malatya and made a short presentation on the history of cinema in Palestine by summarizing Palestine's cinematic journey. No matter how it was interrupted on and off in the shadow of devastating incidents such as the Nakba, or the 1948 Palestinian exodus, and ongoing Israeli occupation, Palestine has continued to make films since the beginning of the 20th century. Bokhary also mentioned that a period called the Cinema of Palestinian Revolution has started.
"Palestine raised so many renowned directors from the 1990s to the 2000s and started to grow up. Now, it produces highly successful and bright works. We released documentary-like works up until the Nakba; however, in the aftermath, Palestine produced more nostalgic films. For now, on the other hand, the cinema of Palestine took a step into a new period, which makes me more hopeful. This is a period in which filmmakers can face reality, approach issues that they addressed once romantically in a realistic way and face themselves. As making films means surviving and sustaining the fight, this production goes on in Palestine with the fight of these people, although the conditions are not convenient.
Speaking on the activities of the Palestinian Culture Ministry's Cinema Department, Bokhary said, "Yearly, we support five feature films and around 10 short films. The Palestine Film Institute does not have a fixed address. Nowadays, we try to gather it up. We do not limit Palestinian skills on the basis of geography. There are directors living in several corners of the world due to various reasons; however, we accept them as Palestinian directors."
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