Queer Cinema for Palestine (QCP) has opened for a collectively-curated 10-day film festival that celebrates global queer realities and stands in solidarity with Palestinians.
This event will host 190+ filmmakers who resist the concurrent TLVFest. A film festival that QCP organizers accuse of “pinkwashing” Israel’s violent occupation of Palestine.
The film festival will take place between November 11 and November 20. The online and in-person hosting will be done around five continents.
This film festival will provide a platform for filmmakers. A special program will honour eight Brazilian filmmakers who withdrew their short films in 2020.
Ghadir al Shafie, co-founder of Aswat – Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms, commented:
“As Palestinian queers we invite you to join us for Queer Cinema for Palestine, a feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial festival that shouts YES to queer cinema and NO to Israeli Apartheid.”
Apartheid Then and Now
The program, “Apartheid Then and Now”, will feature South African, Palestinian, and international films and speakers. They will come together to discuss the use of cinema and new media. So this can resist apartheid and ban as an activist tactic.
According to an announcement posted by Queer Cinema for Palestine, the festival came together in May 2021, amid worldwide protests against the Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza and the ongoing oppression of Palestinians.
In an interview with Insider, Elias Jahshan a social media editor at The New Arab told why he supports this year’s boycott:
“The boycott would draw attention to how Israel is not the haven for LGBTQ people in the Middle East it purports to be,” he said. “Sure, it’s legal and there are lots of rights and a fair amount of equality… but that’s only on paper.”
“Palestinian citizens of Israel who happen to be LGBTQ are still subject to being treated as second-class citizens, and just because they’re queer does not make them immune to all that,” Jahshan continued.
The online program will be hosted on the Toronto Queer Film Festival’s state-of-the-art platform designed with accessibility in mind. Films will be available on-demand for the duration of the festival.
Festival director Yair Hochner Responds to the widespread boycott of the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival. He argues that TLVFest has “shown solidarity with the struggle for rights, freedom, and justice of Palestinian queers, and Palestinians in general” since its foundation in 2006.
13 cities + streaming
Dozens of partners#QueerCinemaForPalestine. A vibrant space using art and culture to oppose the ongoing violence of Israeli apartheid.
— PACBI (@PACBI) October 29, 2021
While some are boycotting, a few celebrities have expressed their disapproval. Signatories include Neil Patrick Harris, Dame Helen Mirren, Mila Kunis, Mayim Bialik, Billy Porter, and Gene Simmons.
The letter says:
“We stand united with all the participating filmmakers against the divisive rhetoric espoused by boycott activists who seek to misinform, bully and intimidate artists into removing their films from the festival or shame them for participating in the festival. “We believe that anyone who works to subvert TLVFest merely adds yet another roadblock to freedom, justice, equality, and peace that we all desperately desire, especially for the LGBTQ community that is persecuted throughout the Middle East and around the world.”
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