Chicago Palestine Film Festival 2014

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  1. Chicago Palestine Film Festival

From April 19 through May 1, the Gene Siskel Film Center collaborates with the Chicago Palestine Film Festival to present the thirteenth annual festival representing the spirit and mood of contemporary Palestinian life. This festival is dedicated to exhibiting film and video work that is open, critical, and reflective of the culture, experience, and vision of the artists.

This year's festival is made possible in part through the support of the Crossroads Fund, the Khaled & Noha E. Taha Foundation (KNET), Electronic Intifada, Ziyad Brothers, and the Chicago Arab Heritage Council. For their invaluable cooperation, the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the members of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival Committee.

—Barbara Scharres

OMAR

  • PREVIOUSLY SCREENED FILMS

Showtimes

Sat, Apr 19th at 8:00pm
Wed, Apr 23rd at 8:15pm
Average: 5 (3 votes)

Hany Abu-Assad via Skype!

  1. OMAR
  1. 2013, Hany Abu-Assad, Palestine, 98 min.
  2. With Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany

  3. MAQLOUBEH
  4. 2013, Nicolas Damuni, France, 10 min.

“OMAR maintains an unsettling rhythm of suspense and sociopolitical critique throughout…nothing in the Oscar race this year addresses a contemporary issue with the same degree of immediacy.”
–Eric C. Kohn, Indiewire.com

“If Alfred Hitchcock had grown up as a Palestinian, he might have made something like Hany Abu-Assad’s Oscar nominated OMAR…a tender love story, a haunting tragedy and an expertly crafted thriller.
–Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

Director Abu-Assad (PARADISE NOW) builds a plot as labyrinthine as the narrow back alleys of the town where Tareq, Amjad, and Omar, friends from boyhood, carry out a desperately conceived plot to kill an Israeli soldier in this Oscar-nominated film. Omar is subsequently arrested and tortured, and all that is dear to him hangs perilously in the balance when he is offered freedom at the price of becoming a double agent. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. DCP digital.

Preceded by Nicolas Damuni’s MAQLOUBEH. Dinner is on the table but unexpected guests at the door alter the menu. In Arabic with English subtitles. DigiBeta video. (BS)

The screening on Saturday, April 19 is SOLD OUT! Tickets are still available for Wednesday, April 23.

Director Hany Abu-Assad will participate in audience discussion via Skype, moderated by Khaled Taha, on Saturday (SOLD OUT). Palestinian poet Mazen Maroof will be present for discussion moderated by Jameeleh Shelo on Wednesday.

See video

UNDER THE SAME SUN

Showtimes

Sun, Apr 20th at 5:00pm
Thu, Apr 24th at 8:15pm
Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Filmmakers in person!

  1. UNDER THE SAME SUN
  1. 2013, Sameh Zoabi. USA/Israel/Palestine, 75 min.
  2. With Ali Suliman, Dirar Suleiman

  3. CORNER STORES
  4. 2013, Amina Waheed , USA, 25 min.

Two adventurous businessmen, Nizar, a Palestinian, and Shaul, an Israeli, warily form plans for a startup solar energy company across the formidable political and cultural divide. Director Zoabi (MAN WITHOUT A CELL PHONE) sets this drama with a documentary feel in the near future, advancing an irresistible air of optimism despite resistance of family and community on each side that threatens to sidetrack the ambitious utopian venture. In English, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles.

Preceded by Amina Waheed’s CORNER STORES. A convenience store owner on Chicago’s South Side negotiates the diverse character of his neighborhood. In Arabic, Hebrew, and English with English subtitles.

Both in HDCAM video. (BS)

Director Amina Waheed (CORNER STORES) will be present for audience discussion moderated by Jameeleh Shelo on Sunday. Producer Susan Koscis (UNDER THE SAME SUN) will be present on Thursday.

See video

MARS AT SUNRISE

Showtimes

Sat, Apr 26th at 3:00pm
Wed, Apr 30th at 8:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)
  1. MARS AT SUNRISE
  1. 2014, Jessica Habie, Canada/Palestine/USA, 75 min.
  2. With Ali Suliman, Guy Elhanan

  3. ISMAIL
  4. 2012, Nora Alsharif, Jordan/Palestine/UK/Qatar, 29 min.

“Enlightening…MARS AT SUNRISE
is a thoughtful and inventive look at a
seemingly endless war.”
–Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

Inspired by the true story of exiled Palestinian artist Hani Zurob, MARS AT SUNRISE is eerily surreal in evoking the internal refuge of a man undergoing torture and solitary confinement. Evicted from his confiscated home, arrested, his work vandalized, painter Khaled (Suliman of PARADISE NOW) wages a creative battle of wits with his captor as his mind takes flight in impressionistic fantasies, memories, and the dreams that keep him alive. In Arabic, English, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, and Yiddish with English subtitles. DCP digital.

Preceded by Nora Alsharif ‘s ISMAIL. An artist who makes a living selling cakes with his little brother faces life and death decisions in a minefield. In Arabic with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (BS)

Director Jessica Habie will participate in audience discussion via Skype, moderated by Rory Sykes, on Wednesday.

See video

CINEMA PALESTINE

Showtimes

Sat, Apr 26th at 5:00pm
Tue, Apr 29th at 8:30pm
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Tim Schwab in person!

  1. CINEMA PALESTINE
  1. 2013, Tim Schwab, Canada/Israel/Palestine, 82 min.

  2. THOUGH I KNOW THE RIVER IS DRY
  3. 2013, Omar Robert Hamilton, Palestine/Egypt/UK/Qatar, 20 min.

Packed with personal interviews and clips from essential films, CINEMA PALESTINE takes a lyrical approach to illustrating the ways in which the land and space of Palestine are integral to the national identity and struggle. This enlightening documentary explores work by several generations of Palestinian filmmakers, including renowned contemporary directors Hany Abu-Assad (OMAR, PARADISE NOW) and Rashid Masharawi (PALESTINE STEREO, LAILA’S BIRTHDAY). In English. HDCAM video.

Preceded by Omar Robert Hamilton’s THOUGH I KNOW THE RIVER IS DRY. A father is torn between love for his homeland and the chance to take his young family to safety abroad. In Arabic with English subtitles. HDCAM video. (BS)

Director Tim Schwab will be present for dialogue with Prof. Hamid Naficy of Northwestern University, and Rory Sykes, on Saturday.

PALESTINE STEREO

Showtimes

Thu, May 1st at 8:00pm
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Closing night film!
Suha Araj in person!

  1. PALESTINE STEREO
  2. (aka FALASTINE STEREO)
  1. 2013, Rashid Masharawi, Palestine/Tunisia/France, 90 min.
  2. With Mahmud Abu-Jazi, Salah Hannoun

  3. THE CUP READER
  4. 2013, Suha Araj, Palestine, 12 min.

“Heart-rending…a keen sense for the
comic-tragic absurdity inherent in
an impossible political situation.”
–Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

Milad, aka Stereo, an affable West Bank wedding singer, was widowed by the same Israeli air strike that left his electrician brother Sami a deaf mute. Now every waking hour is devoted to raising the cash needed to emigrate. Director Masharawi (LAILA’S BIRTHDAY) balances the energy of the hustle with the dark sorrow of loss and injects a new element when, on the eve of departure, the brothers newly acknowledge ownership of their own history. In Arabic with English subtitles. HDCAM video.

Preceded by Suha Araj’s THE CUP READER. A fortune-teller brings her psychic powers to bear in matchmaking for her clients. In Arabic, Hebrew, and English with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)

Director Suha Araj and producer Nilou Safinya (THE CUP READER) will be present for audience discussion moderated by Khaled Taha and Jameeleh Shelo.

See video