Houston, TX – The Houston Palestine Film Festival (HPFF) kicks off its 9th edition this May with a number of feature films, documentaries and shorts tackling diverse themes from Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora from different perspectives.
The festival opens on Friday, May 8, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston with The Wanted 18 by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan. The 75-minute film is a combination of interviews and stop motion animation, original drawings and archival footage. It tells the story of 18 cows that were brought to a village in the West Bank from an Israeli Kibbutz and became a threat to Israeli national security. A second screening will be offered at at the Rice University Media Center on May 16.
Villa Touma by Suha Arraf, is another feature film in HPFF’s 2015 lineup. The film focuses on three unmarried sisters from an aristocratic Christian family in Ramallah who shut themselves in their villa, clinging to their former glory until their orphaned niece turns their lives upside down. This film will be screened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Saturday, May 9.
HPFF will also be screening Giraffada by Rani Massalha on Friday, May 15, at the Rice University Media Center. In this feature film, A Palestinian veterinarian persuades an Israeli colleague to help him capture a giraffe from a Tel Aviv safari park and smuggle it to a zoo in the West Bank.
HPFF’s closing night on Saturday, May 23, will feature Eyes of a Thief by Najwa Najjar, which follows the journey of a Palestinian father who, after his recent release from an Israeli prison, tries to search for his missing daughter. The film will be screened at the Rice University Media Center on May 23 and will be followed by a short discussion moderated by Samya Ayish, a Houston-based freelance journalist.
HPFF is also proud to present three noteworthy documentaries this year. On Saturday, May 16, The Voice of a Condor by Heba Attar will be screened at the Rice University Media Center. The focus of this 45-minute documentary is the large Christian Palestinian diaspora in Chile.
On Friday, May 22, 1913: Seeds of a Conflict by Ben Loeterman will be screened at the Rice University Media center, followed by a Q&A session with the film directors via Skype. The film explores the little-known history of Palestine under the Ottoman Empire, a time of relative harmony between Arabs and Jews.
On Saturday, May 23, On the Bride's Side by Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele del Grande and Khaled Soliman al-Nassiry will be screened at the Rice University Media Center. The documentary follows the journey of a group of Palestinians and Syrians seeking asylum in Sweden after fleeing the war in Syria. In order to avoid detection and ultimate deportation, the group decides to fake a wedding party in order to cross borders without being noticed. The documentary will be followed by a brief discussion moderated by Samya Ayish.
Also in the 2015 line-up are two short films, Transit Game by Anna Fahr and The Climb of Hope by Amal el-Agroobi, which will be screened on Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17, respectively, at Rice University Media Center.
For the first time in its history, HPFF is proud to present a video art installation entitled "Where is Picasso Gaza is Guernica" A Visual Adaptation by Massod Vadiee. The artist dedicated this work to Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who, in solidarity with the Palestinians, served tirelessly in Gaza during the 2014 war and helped save hundreds of lives.
On closing night on May 23, HPFF will honor Said Fattouh, host of Arabic Voices, a long-running talk show on KPFT radio that has focused on a wide array of issues relevant to the Arab-American community in Houston as well as the rest of the United States.
HPFF believes that a prominent social media presence is essential to the success of its events. In order to reach out to a wide audience in Houston as well as engage with artists and film enthusiasts around the world, HPFF will be using twitter to live-tweet its events this year. The hashtag that will be used for this year's festival is #HPFF2015. Twitter users following this hashtag will be able to follow the latest news related to HPFF and contribute to the discussions following the film screenings.
For more information, visit the festival's website: www.hpff.org, as well as the festival's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/houstonpalestinefilmfestival and Twitter account: https://twitter.com/HoustonPFF.
About Houston Palestine Film Festival: HPFF is a non-political, non-religious, 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to expose the near 6 million diverse inhabitants of the greater Houston area to Palestinian culture and identity through film. It brings an honest and independent view of Palestine and its diaspora’s society, culture, and political travails through the art of film.