Pop-Up Film Festival - Reel Palestine 2016

Reel Palestine is back this year with another line up of Palestinian films celebrating "Palestinian culture and tenacity through film". 

The screenings will take place between 23rd and 30th January in Sharjah and in various locations in Dubai.  Below is the schedule in the different venues. The line up includes recently released films and films that are a few years old.

The festival is free to attend, so pick a date or two or all of them and go support this festival.

Saturday 23rd January 2016 at 8.30pm at Sharjah Art Foundation

Friday, 29th January 2016 at 7.00pm at thejamjar, Dubai

Speed Sisters

Dir. Amber Fares

Documentary | Arabic with English subtitles | 80 min | 2015

Directed by Amber Fares, the film follows the first all-woman racecar driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street car-racing scene.

When racing prodigy Marah loses her place as top female racer to glamorous Betty due to an arbitrary decision by the officials, relationships in the team are strained and Marah’s resolve and the support of her hard-working family are pushed to their limits. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, Speed Sisters takes you on a surprising journey into the drive to go further and faster than anyone thought you could.

Sunday, 24th January 2016 at 7.00pm at A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

On the Bride's Side

Dir. Gabriele Del Grande, Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry, Antonio Augugliaro

Documentary | Italian, Arabic with English subtitles | 98 min | 2014

On the Bride's Side shows us the story of a Palestinian poet and an Italian journalist who meet five Palestinians and Syrians in Milan who entered Europe via the Italian island of Lampedusa after fleeing the war in Syria. They decide to help them complete their journey to Sweden – and hopefully avoid getting themselves arrested as traffickers – by faking a wedding. With a Palestinian friend dressed up as the bride and a dozen or so Italian and Syrian friends as wedding guests, they cross halfway over Europe on a four-day journey of three thousand kilometres.
This emotionally charged journey not only brings out the stories and hopes and dreams of the five Palestinians and Syrians and their rather special traffickers, but also reveals an unknown side of Europe – a transnational, supportive and irreverent Europe that ridicules the laws and restrictions of the Fortress in a kind of masquerade which is no other than the direct filming of something that really took place on the road from Milan to Stockholm from the 14th to the 18th of November 2013.

Monday, 25h January 2016 at 7.00pm at A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Villa Touma

Dir. Suha Arraf

Drama | Arabic with English subtitles | 85 min | 2014

Villa Touma portrays three Palestinian Christian sisters who’ve lost their land and status due to the 1967 war with Israel aren’t able to face the painful new reality that’s been imposed on them, so they lock themselves away in their big house and continue to live in a time warp. 
Within the villa’s crumbling walls, the sisters live in their own personal bubbles, each with her own secrets, dreams and failed love story, hidden behind a mask of manners and propriety. 

When their young niece, Badia, walks into their lives, she challenges their stifling routine and turns their world upside down, obliterating the deadly silence they lived in.

Tuesday, 26th January 2016 at 7.00pm at A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai 

Love, Theft and Other Entanglements

Dir. Muayad Alayan

Drama | Arabic with English subtitles | 90 min | 2015

Directed by Muayad Alayan, the film explores the protagonist, Mousa, who gets into the trouble of his life when he steals the wrong car. What he thought was an Israeli car and an easy way to make money in his impoverished Palestinian refugee camp turns out to be a load of misfortune when he discovers a kidnapped Israeli soldier in the trunk.

Mousa's hopes of paying the bribe that will guarantee him an exit visa out of the country and away from his wrecked love affair dissipate as he finds himself on the run from Palestinian militias and the Israeli intelligence.

Wednesday, 27th January 2016 at 7.00pm at thejamjar, Dubai


Dir. Khaled Jarrar

Documentary | Arabic with English subtitles | 70 min | 2013

The checkpoint is closed: “Detour, detour!” shouts a taxi driver, announcing the beginning of yet another uncertain search for a way around the barriers curtailing Palestinian movement in the West Bank.
Infiltrators is a visceral “road movie” that chronicles the daily travails of Palestinians of all backgrounds as they seek routes through, under, around, and over a bewildering matrix of barriers.
Following this high stakes “game” of cat and mouse with a handheld video camera, Khaled Jarrar’s debut documentary was the standout success at the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival, winning the Muhr Arab Documentary Prize, the Special Jury Prize, and the International Critics Prize.

Thursday, 28th January 2016 at 7.00pm at thejamjar, Dubai

The Wanted 18

Dir. Amer Shomali, Paul Cowan

Documentary | Arabic, English, Hebrew, French | 75 min | 2014

It’s 1987, and the first Palestinian popular movement in the West Bank is rising. Residents want local alternatives to Israeli goods, including milk, which they’ve been buying from an Israeli company. And so begins the strange story of the 18 cows.

The plot is hatched by pacifist intellectuals and professionals. Not your typical dairy farmers. These “lactivists” forge ahead anyway, buying 18 cows and smuggling them into the West Bank town of Beit Sahour.

But who knows anything about cows? These newly minted farmers have to learn the most basic skills—even how to milk their charges, which isn’t as easy as it looks. 

Eventually, the cows come to the attention of Israeli authorities, and the chase is on—a cat-and-mouse (or soldier-and-cow) game writ large, as the cows shuttle from barn to barn, with their pursuers determined to find them. The cows became legendary and the “intifada milk” (sometimes distributed under cover of darkness) becomes a part of daily life.

Friday, 29th January 2016 at 4.00pm at thejamjar, Dubai


Dir. Salim Abu Jabal

Documentary | Arabic with English subtitles | 70 min | 2014

Since 1956, 80-year-old Yousef has lived in a shack in the Roshmia Valley with his wife Amna, a refugee from Yasoor. Life is quiet until the municipality of Haifa plans to build a road across the valley to connect the Mediterranean to Mount Carmel – which will require the demolition of the couple’s home and force them to find a new home.
Aouni, their sponsor, acts as a middleman between them and the municipality and attempts to secure a compensation for them. However, the negotiations lead to tension amongst the three.

Saturday, 30th January 2016 at 4.00pm at A4 Space in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

When I Saw You

Dir. Annemarie Jacir

Drama | Arabic, English | 98 min | 2012

1967. The world is alive with change: brimming with reawakened energy, new styles, music and an infectious sense of hope. In Jordan, a different kind of change is underway as tens of thousands of refugees pour across the border from Palestine. Having been separated from his father in the chaos of war, Tarek, 11, and his mother Ghaydaa, are amongst this latest wave of refugees.
Placed in "temporary" refugee camps made up of tents and prefab houses until they would be able to return, they wait, like the generation before them who arrived in 1948. With difficulties adjusting to life in Harir camp and a longing to be reunited with his father, Tarek searches a way out, and discovers a new hope emerging with the times. Eventually his free spirit and curious nature lead him to a group of people on a journey that will change their lives.
When I Saw You is the story of people affected by the times around them, in search of something more in their lives. A journey full of adventure, love, humor, and the desire to be free. A story of the human spirit that knows no borders.

Saturday, 30th January at 9.00pm at The Yard, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Epicly Palestine'd

Dir. Phil & Theo

Documentary | Arabic, English | 26 min | 2015

"People here just don’t know what skateboarding is... They think we’re weird.” The words of Amr, a teenager from Birzeit, are echoed by every skater in Palestine.

“You feel different. You feel unique.” Three years ago, no-one had ever seen a skateboard in the West Bank, save for a few plastic ones in the odd toyshop. It’s still a new thing, but there’s excitement about this emerging scene.

This is the story of how skateboarding began in the West Bank, told through the eyes of the local skateboarders: the journey it has led them on and the challenges facing the skate scene and living under occupation.

The Warren

Dir. James Adolphus

Drama, Thriller | Arabic, Hebrew with English subtitles | 11 min | 2014

On the eve of the Passover seder, March 27, 2002, a wave of suicide attacks against Israel reached its peak when a Palestinian blew himself up at the Park Hotel in Netanya, killing 29 civilians and wounding dozens more. In response, Israel launched an extensive military operation whose declared intent was to “strike at the terrorist infrastructure.” Reserve soldiers were called up. Emergency storehouses were opened. Operation Defensive Shield was underway.

THE WARREN is a documentary-style drama showing the Battle of Nablus, a part of Operation Defensive Shield, fought from April 5 to April 8, 2002 in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the West Bank between the Israel Defense Forces and Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad which resulted in the death of seventy Palestinian fighters and eight Palestinians civilians as well as one IDF officer, ultimately resulting in a Israeli victory.

Though I Know the River Runs Dry

Dir. Omar Robert Hamilton

Drama | 19 min | 2014

He has returned to Palestine. On his journey through the country he relives the trauma of his past and the choice that sent him to America - a choice between a passport for his unborn child and a safe haven for his activist brother.

Ave Maria

Dir. Basil Khalil

Comedy | Arabic, Hebrew with English subtitles | 15 min | 2014

The nuns of the ‘Sisters of Mercy’ Convent, in the middle of the West Bank wilderness, have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of Jewish settlers come knocking at their door for help after crashing into the convent’s wall.

Free entry. Location map to all the venues.