Palestinian Movies Get the Spotlight at This Dubai Film Festival

Cinema Akil celebrates all things Palestinian

Palestinian films are making major waves across the globe. From London to Sydney, film festivals dedicated to unravelling the little-seen (not always conflict-driven) side of Palestine.

And now, a little closer to home, Reel Palestine (the region’s foremost Palestinian film festival) is about to open. 

Housed in Dubai’s first independent movie theatre, Cinema Akil, the sixth edition of the annual film festival—which has long-been putting a spotlight on critically acclaimed Palestinian films in the UAE—will showcase seven films over the course of nine days.

Kicking off the festival will be Sundance and Palme D’Or contender ‘It Must Be Heaven’. The Elia Suleiman-directed feature sees Suleiman playing the role of ‘E.S.’—a man who finds himself struggling with displacement as he leaves his homeland in search of another place to call home.

Followed by ‘The Journey of the Others’, directed by Jaime Villarreal, the film tells the story of a group of Palestinian theatre actors on a mission to show their play in New York City, despite an Intifada brewing. 

‘Soufra’, a documentary directed by Thomas A. Morgan, is also part of the festival. The documentary follows a social entrepreneur, Mariam Shaar, who has lived her life in the Burj El Barajneh refugee camp outside of Beirut. Shaar sets out against all odds and launches her own successful catering company that goes on to expand into the food truck business. 

Lina Al Abed’s ‘Ibrahim, A Fate to Define’ also will be screened. The documentary follows the director’s own quest to define her identity. She ultimately uncovers the story behind the disappearance of her father, Ibrahim. 

Of course, the festival doesn’t leave short films behind. For Reel’s Series of Palestinian Shorts, they’re featuring five critically acclaimed short films, including ‘Made in Palestine’, ‘Coffee Pot’, ‘Strange Cities are Familiar’, ‘Him and I’, ‘Wild Plants of Palestine’, ‘The Pipe’, and ‘Maradona’s Leg’. 

Reel Palestine, January 17 – 25, Cinema Akil, Dubai

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