From Balfour to Banksy:
Visions and Divisions in Palestine

Tickets are now on sale for the Hastings premiere of a new documentary film about Israel and Palestine, to be held at The Pig’s Palace on Thursday 23rd January.

From Balfour to Banksy: Visions and Divisions in Palestine sets out the historical background to the Israel/Palestine situation, Britain’s culpability and complicity, and examines how that history has played out today through various different perspectives. 

It also looks at what might be the way forward today from the point of view of the people within it. 

Hosted by the Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign (HRPSC), the screening of the British-made film will be followed by refreshments and a Q&A with producer Miranda Pinch.

Miranda, the daughter of a Jewish Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia, says she felt compelled to make the film, as historical context is key to understanding the situation today. 

“Context is something that I find is hugely lacking in the mainstream media these days,” she said. “We hear the BBC stating a fact, and that fact may be correct but out of context, it distorts the situation entirely.”

But it seemed at first that the financial considerations of making a feature length film would stand in Miranda’s way.

“It very nearly didn’t happen at all,” she admitted. “I thought we would need at least £50,000 to get it off the ground. But a chance meeting with former BBC producer Martin Buckley changed all that – he agreed to waive a fee and we got started with a tiny budget of just £5,000.”

The independent film, which has now been shown in over 50 venues across the country, as well as at the Boston Palestine Film Festival, was filmed in both the UK and undercover in Israel/Palestine over a tight 10 day shooting schedule. 

“We did what Martin called ‘guerrilla filming” in Israel because if we had applied for permission, we would never have got it,” said Miranda. 

“Instead, we went into the country on tourist visas and our cover story was that Martin and I were partners and our young cameraman was the grown-up child from my first marriage. It worked because Martin and I were always squabbling as we went through checkpoints so it looked like a real relationship! We were able to film some really unique footage and perspectives in both Israel and Palestine that we’d never have been able to get otherwise.”

The filmmakers gained permission to film in the Banksy hotel situated opposite the Separation Wall in Bethlehem, named the Walled Off Hotel, and boasting ‘the worst view of any hotel in the world’. They were also granted an interview with hotel manager Wissam Salsa and permission to use the ‘Banksy’ name in the film’s title. 

Miranda says she has been thrilled with the response to their film so far.

“We’ve had a very good reception up and down the country, from as far north as Edinburgh down to Portsmouth in the south. We’ve even been invited to apply to the Chicago Palestine Film Festival next April, not bad considering this represents my first foray into the film-making world and we did it all on a shoestring.”

HRPSC Chair, Katy Colley, said: “We’re delighted to host this important film and to broaden our understanding of the historical background to the Israel-Palestine situation. 

We are sometimes asked why we are so concerned about Palestine, but it is too often forgotten that Britain played a crucial role in the creation of the current occupation. The legacy of that decision matters to many people in Hastings today.’

Tickets for ‘From Balfour to Banksy’ at The Pig’s Palace, Hastings, on Thursday 23rd January from 7pm are available to buy at £5 per person here:

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