Blood on the carpet: Gaza holds first Film festival amid the ruins

Cannes wasn’t the only event that rolled out the Red Carpet this week, a very different film festival is held amid the rubble of GAZA

GAZA CITY, (Gaza Strip) — As Hollywood stars arrived in the French resort city of Cannes last week for the world’s most prestigious film festival there, another showcasing was also taking place in Gaza City.

The Gaza Strip hosted its first film festival in the ruins of a neighborhood destroyed by the Israeli war last summer, showing 20 narrative and documentary films. Organized by Gaza production company Lama Film, the Karama Gaza Film Festival was an emotional event attended by Palestinians around their war-torn homes.

The festival, which showcased 28 long narrative and documentary films from across the world, was the first of it’s kind in Gaza highlighting human rights issues, mainly in Palestine.

The film event involved the unfurling of a red carpet through areas yet to be rebuilt since the war, which claimed more than 2,200 Palestinian lives.

Organiser Saud Aburamadan said that everyone who attended was invited to walk down the red carpet that snaked through the rubble.

“We laid down the 70-meter red carpet on one of the main roads that leads to where we screened the films, a road that has nothing but destroyed homes,” Aburamadan told +972 Magazine.

‘For us, red is first and foremost the color of so much blood that was spilled here this summer. The blood of women, men and children’ Aburamadan added.

As the red carpet unrolled, patriotic songs played and dozens of children gathered. The festival opened among the ruins in al-Kurba, the most afflicted area of the Shajaiyah neighborhood, near al-Tawfeeq mosque.

Jordan-based Karama Human Rights Film Festival has rolled out the red carpet in Gaza’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood.

The Karama (Arabic for ‘Dignity’) Festival, which started yesterday and ends today, describes itself as “a platform that utilizes screen arts that involve human rights and justice issues as their subject matter in order to create a cross-cultural platform for the wider general public together with filmmakers, artists, activists and other stakeholders, in order to raise public awareness and encourage their engagement in actions that would eliminate violations of Human Rights.”

Among the movies being screened at the Karama Gaza Film Festival are “I’m Human” (Razan Haikal, Jordan/Germany), “Baghdad Messi” (Sahim Omar Kalifa, Iraq) and “Roshmia” (Salim Abu Jabal, Palestine).

“Each of the films were about human rights, allowing people in Gaza to know that there are others around the world who suffer like them,” al-Mozayen told The WorldPost.

Jaabari, 75, walked the red carpet wearing her house shoes on the opening day. She told Al-Monitor, “The last time I saw a movie in the cinema was 50 years ago in central Gaza City with my husband, and it was a film featuring Lebanese actress Sabah.”

She added, smiling, “Fifty years witnessed two intifadas and three wars. Now I’m watching a movie for the second time in my life and I’m walking on the red carpet for the first time.” She pointed to her home near the festival venue, whose walls are pocked with holes caused by Israeli artillery shells.

Over 100,000 Palestinians remain homeless after the Gaza war, but international donors have pledged $5.4 billion for reconstruction.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

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