Chicago Palestine Film Fest will showcase ‘Surprising Palestinians’
The Chicago Palestine Film Festival held a fundraiser at Masada restaurant in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood on Feb. 12. The event was sold out and was a “huge success” because it attracted newcomers, according to Jameeleh Shelo, Executive Director of the festival.
“I think more import than selling out we had a new group of people at the event,” Shelo said. “People who had never heard of the film festival were able to attend one of our events for the first time.”
This year’s film festival will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center and begins April 16. The highlights of the festival include Mohammed Assaf’s biography “The Idol,” which was directed by Oscar-nominated Hany Abu-Assad and Amber Fares’ documentary “Speed Sisters.”
Shelo said the festival’s theme this year is “Surprising Palestinians.”
“We wanted to change the narrative and showcase Palestinian stories that were not bound by limited expectations. We wanted to show Palestinians who were out living their lives in unexpected ways and making dreams come true,” she said.
Shelo said that a perfect festival will involve a feeling of comfort and a sense of safety to explore Palestinian narratives and culture.
“We want to create a safe space for Palestinian artists and those who want to learn about Palestine art can enjoy each other’s company. We want to take the focus of the negative aspects, and tell the stories of humans surviving and thriving even when their identity is slowly being stripped from them,” she said.