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TPFF 2010: With Love From Palestine //


The sold out crowd of 800 doesn’t seem to be fazed by the rain. They continue to line up outside the Bloor Cinema in order to get a seat to Elia Suleiman’s The Time That Remains, a film inspired by Suleiman’s own family history since the 1948 Nakba — and the opening film of the Third Annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF). This year, the festival was its most successful with over 3,200 tickets sold. With a more selective set of films, audiences were also treated to a variety of Canadian and international debuts, a traditional breakfast prepared by Chef Isam Kaisi of 93 Harbord, and a panel at Beit Zaitoun on the state of contemporary Palestinian cinema with Palestinian director Michel Khleifi (Zindeeq) and Palestinian-Canadian producer Christina Piovesan (Amreeka) who discussed film-making initiatives taking place within Palestine and across the world regarding the difficulties faced by filmmakers in regards to funding, censorship and resources. Check out some shots from the festival and read more about the films >>

Bloor Theatre, Toronto

Zindeeq, Michel Khleifi’s latest film, made its Canadian premiere to a sold out crowd at TPFF. Zindeeq is a cinematographic masterpiece about an expat filmmaker (played by Palestinian actor and director Mohammad Bakri) who returns to Palestine to film witness accounts of the Nakba but finds himself trapped in the endless night of his homeland (Nazareth) when his nephew kills a man and triggers a vendetta against the family. Khleifi, sporting a blue chemise, a black vest, gray pants with his hands shyly behind his back and pushing his flowing gray hair to the side, explained to the crowd (in a most adorable French accent) that the film is a blend of reality and the absurd and that he purposely left white patches in order for the audience to participate in the film’s interpretation by using their own imagination.

The festival highlighted a series of shorts and documentaries discussing some familiar issues but with a series of shorts and documentaries exploring issues that are less common, including 9-5 by Daniel Gal, about Palestinians working in Israel and their difficult journey to cross the border; Jaffa: The Orange’s Clockwork, a beautiful look into the history of the famous Jaffa orange and its use as a tool to market Zionist propaganda; Shooting Muhammad, a documentary about a member of the rap group “G-Town” who resides in Shuf’at refugee camp in Jerusalem and attends an Israeli university, and the award winning documentary Budrus by director Julia Bacha (Control Room) that tells the inspiring story of an entire village uniting not only their neighbours but members of the international community to resist the construction of the wall on their land. It’s hard to think of a better film to have closed the festival.


About the Author: Danah Abdulla was not born in Canada but has lived here since the age of two. A Palestinian with a degree from the University of Ottawa in something other than Engineering (Mass Communications, minor Commerce), she lives in Toronto where she works as a Digital Cultivator for a big advertising agency. She’s a freelance writer and a blogger. She likes to doodle, read, make jokes, and dance.

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