HRPSC Chair Katy Colley previews the films and their context

Hastings and Rye Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (HRPSC) has teamed up with The Electric Palace cinema and The Printworks to mark Nakba Day by showcasing three films from some of Palestine’s most exciting directors.

When people think about Palestine they often think about conflict, but there are so many more stories to tell. These fantastic directors have chosen subjects with unusual and anarchic stories, ones that you would never normally come across, and which open up our understanding of the people and the place in ways you wouldn’t expect. For example, Speed Sisters is about the first all-female car racing team in Palestine. They are defying all conventions and expectations to be truly themselves, to be free. These are universal themes, told from a completely unique perspective.

Marah Zahalka, one of the racing team in Speed Sisters

Nakba is the Arabic word for “catastrophe” and is used to describe the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1946/9 by Israeli forces. During that period over 750,000 Palestinians fled their homes and 550 villages were destroyed or occupied. Many descendants still live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The director of The Wanted 18, Amer Shomali, grew up in a Syrian refugee camp, reading comic books because he couldn’t go outside to play. His film contains a mixture of animation and documentary elements, exploring the story of a group of townspeople from Beit Sahour, whose cows (and specifically their milk production) were identified as a ‘threat to the national security of the state of Israel’.

By taking a personal approach to a point in history, some films can offer new insight into a period of time. For example, the First Intifada (1987-1991) the first uprising of Palestinians against the occupation, was for many a non-violent movement of civil resistance. Naila and the Uprising follows the true story of Naila Ayesh, a new mother and student activist in the 1980s. Naila and dozens of other women built parallel institutions to challenge the Israeli military’s control of Palestinian life: underground classrooms to replace schools that were shut down by the army; citizen-run health clinics to treat those with no access to hospitals; and ‘victory gardens’ to break reliance on Israeli agriculture.

Naila Ayesh and her son Majd

HRPSC are a small but active group who share a belief in equal rights and justice for Palestinians. We run regular stalls in Hastings and Rye town centres and are affiliated to the National PSC which campaigns for a just peace for Palestine and Israel. Today there is an ongoing Nakba as 7 million refugees are not allowed to return to their homes, a right guaranteed by UN resolution 194, passed in 1948. Nakba Day on 15 May recognises this ongoing displacement. For more information of our work and campaigns visit hastingspalestinecampaign.org

Film time showings:

Naila and the Uprising directed by Julia Bracha [Unrated] @ The Electric Palace on 10 May, 8pm

Speed Sisters directed by Amber Fares [PG] @ The Electric Palace on 11 May, 8pm

The Wanted 18 directed by Amer Shomali [Unrated] @ The Printworks 23 May @7.30pm

Please contact The Electric Palace directly to reserve seats. Tickets available on the day for The Wanted 18.


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