Palestinian cinema arts association
About the organization
PSCAA — Reviving the lost culture of cinema in Palestine
The Palestinian Social Cinema Arts Association (PSCAA) believes in the importance of cinema as a means to develop youth and spread the culture of non-violence, tolerance and reconciliation. Cinema is a unique form because it is able to transcend illiteracy; therefore it can be easily viewed and digested by everyone, regardless of age or education. This is particularly relevant to the isolated villages and camps that we have been serving since 2008.
Cinema also helps preserve the collective memory of people as it enhances national unity and identity on the community level. Throughout history the cinema of Palestine has played an important role in the Palestinian struggle as a tool of self-representation and communication. For this reason, the PSCAA aims to re-inspire and increase the value of this cultural tradition and reinvigorate the habit of seeing cinema.
Lastly, while there are hundreds of films made about Palestine, very few of these films are made by Palestinians. This is due to the lack of infrastructure in Palestine for cinema production — no cinema schools, archives or funds. This creates a void for new talents to gain experience in Palestine and inevitably results in the exile of many young filmmakers.
Context and background
The PSCAA was established in February 2008, and as of 2009 is an officially registered NGO in Palestine. Its main objective is to develop Palestinian cinema through three main projects; Palestinian Mobile Cinema, Annual Film Festivals and Open Air Cinemas. Our vision is based on an understanding and a need to use cinema arts as a social tool for social change and development. In addition to bringing cinema to the general public, our projects focus on training youth and creating opportunities for professionals in the media arts and film production industry in Palestine.
The Palestinian Mobile Cinema (PMC) project, established and run by the PSCAA, was a major activity that took place in Palestine the last two years. The notion of mobile cinema was introduced to the community and the association succeeded in screening local, regional and international films in several rural communities that have never seen cinema before. Following the screenings, we also hold discussions about the films which create an egalitarian opportunity for women, children, the elderly and students to discuss social issues as a community.
2011 we were also successful in producing film festivals; one documentary and one fiction. In June, we held a fiction festival, entitled “Insane” (Human), which took place in Ramallah. The public film festival was held outside and drew over 1,500 people. At the festival we screened six international films about human rights and feminism. International filmmakers, the Ministry of Culture and head of Ramallah Municipality attended the festival and spoke to the public about the importance of cinema and cultural development.
(Human) International Film Festival
In order to induce positive change in today’s societies, youth need to be given the chance to express their views and needs through the appropriate means. Cinema is an important tool in today’s hi-tech societies and allowing people to use that tool can enhance creativity, openness, and positive change.
An international human rights film festival taking place in Palestine can open new doors of communication with other cultures. Other than the fact that it could shed the light on issues that are community oriented, it would help enhance the notion of acceptance of the other, forgiveness, and compassion between nations and people
To organize and execute a Palestinian International human rights Festival that develops to be renowned regionally and internationally. A festival that would represent a unique cultural event that aims to enhance the dialogue between the cultures and emphasize the spirit of human rights in today’s societies through cinema done and directed towards today’s cultures.
Our aim is to celebrate distinctiveness through the world of cinema, and utilize it as a tool of positive communication between the nations and the people. Our mission is to develop and enhance local and regional young talents in media arts that would help develop the media industry at the different levels.
The festival is an annual event that should not be missed as it highlights the distinct and diverse culture of Palestine. We see the Festival develops as an important yearly event that leads to a distinct, diversified, and solid cultural about human rights in Palestine.
• Enable young talents in Palestine to develop their media and arts skills in filmmaking through training, consulting, and coaching.
• Be able to help young filmmakers to direct, produce and market their work.
• Introduce the Palestinian society to regional and international films directed or produced by youth to enhance exposure to other cultures and filmmaking techniques.
• Emphasize openness and dialogue between cultures along with the exposure to universal issues introduced in the different films and the ways each culture deals with it.
• Encourage young female artists and filmmakers and enable them to achieve better quality and better distribution of their films.
• Help develop the filmmaking industry in Palestine and the region.
• Offer young artists from Palestine and the region a new cultural and dependable podium to express their views and problems.
• Indirectly, our objective is to create a new tool for youth to enhance social change in their societies.
• Create a youth filmmaking network locally, regionally, and internationally to exchange experience and expertise.
Festival time frame:
The human rights film Festival is intended to be a six day event,
We are aiming to have the second festival in June 23rd 2012.
• Palestinian, and international filmmakers.
Fiction and Documentaries related to Human rights
• Palestinian film makers
• Arab and international film makers
• Regional and International funders/ producers/filmmakers/media stations
• Social youth and cultural NGO’s
• Relevant authorities and ministries
• Local, regional, and international press and media
• The general public
Context and background
The Palestinian Social Cinema Arts Association is a newly established NGO in Palestine. The main objective is to develop the Palestinian cinema industry through its different projects. Its vision encompasses understanding the need to use media and cinema arts as a social tool for change and exposure. Its projects vary between training youth on media arts and filmmaking, to exposing the different Palestinian communities to international films.
The Palestinian mobile cinema project established and run by the Association, launched 2008, was a major activity that took place in Palestine. The notion of mobile cinema was introduced and the association succeeded in broadcasting different films to several rural communities. The project triggered great interest from the different communities at different levels, women, children, the elderly and students all in several villages. The experience was very informative and we have noticed that such communities reacted positively to the idea of watching local and foreign subtitled films. The discussion on the social issues raised in the films was very energetic.
The effects and success of the mobile cinema project led us to think at a deeper level. Many talents are wasted and not nurtured because of the lack of a proper institution or forum to nurture them. Many creative ideas are lost because of lack of finances, and the Palestinians are eager to get exposed to other cultures and experiences.
We believe that the Palestine International youth Filmmaking festival will represent an important step towards developing the cinema industry as well as the society itself. Directly, the festival will offer an opportunity for the youth to develop their films and ideas, get the experience they crave, and the necessary direction and guideline both at the levels of directing and at the artistic level. The training we aim to give and the opportunity we offer these youth will be a first step towards empowering them.
The festival will also help the Palestinian cultural movement get exposed, developed and credited. In spite of the occupation, restriction of movement, daily sufferings, along with the economic degradation which have all combined to add pressure on the Palestinians, these hardships have triggered amazing stories and experiences that remain in the collective Palestinian memory. Palestinians were able to express their feelings and problems through different arts: traditional dance, painting, music, poetry, etc. Filmmaking in Palestine has developed in recent years, but still needs to go a long way, in particular with a new generation that has lived new experiences.
Apart from expressing the ideas and experiences artistically, filmmaking and the festival will introduce the Palestinians to regional and international stories that can demonstrate how people around the world deal with universal issues such as oppression, compassion, forgiveness, dialogue, accepting the other, etc.. It would help expose the whole society, not only the filmmakers to the international aspirations and experiences. This should trigger dialogue different levels, which could only be healthy and promising.
We believe in the constructive dialogue. The dialogue that respects the positions of the other, and that promotes peaceful resolution of conflicts and differences. Tension in our region are very high, and only by giving people the opportunity to discuss and express their views, we can solve our problems peacefully. Cinema and art are both very useful tools to help people express as well as react. We believe that the festival will encourage dialogue among the society itself and introduce the others.
Whether the films discuss social problems, gender discrimination, oppression, or the dreams of the young, we believe that such issues can intrigue interesting dialogues that might lead to social action and change. As mentioned above, we aim to present a forum for the youth, the women, the underprivileged from around the world.
The festival can only advance when including the different stakeholders that are mainly:
• Youth organizations
• Private sector
• Youth and art/ media/cinema institutions and NGO’s
• Universities and relevant colleges
• Media training centers
• Regional and international filmmakers and producers
• International organizations
Our aim is to have a sustainable festival that would reoccur yearly, thus we will be specifically aiming for the best practices and an advanced level of organization and professionalism at all levels. Sustainability of the project depends to a large extent on our success in solid partnerships that would play a bigger role and open new horizons for future festivals. The success of our first festival will enhance our credibility and ensure wider support and participation from regional and international filmmaking institutions and filmmakers. It will also ensure more engagement from the different stakeholders and partners.
We will pursue funding from different local, regional and international sources that are interested in a serious project that would develop a new filmmaking industry and ethos in Palestine.
As for the viability of the activity, such a festival will be held in July, midsummer, since we believe that larger audience will be interested in attending., We are developing a price list that will possibly cover some of the expenses, yet care is being taken to ensure that the prices remain reasonable to ensure the attendance of a wider audience. Additionally , we are working on developing other sources of income that relate to the theme, such as selling DVD’s, short films, books and other marketing n promotional materials related to the participating films, directors and casts.
The film festival will open the doors towards the development of specialized training programs for young directors that would be managed by our association in partnership with other local and international institutions.
We see a high potential of growth of such a Festival. Participating films could increase; the numbers of young Palestinian filmmakers would also increase next year due to a well defined plan of action and aftermath. We are also aiming to increase the participation of the local community, local stakeholders and partners as well as at the regional level. We look forward to making the festival, a cultural cornerstone for the region that will intrigue international recognition and eventually be part of the world’s cultural movement.
As for the measurability of the results, the success of the festival can be determined at different levels:
1. Audience participation that can be measured by the number of viewers.
2. Organization level that can be measured by the input of the participants and the audience regarding the success of the organization of the festival. It will also be ensured by the commitment to hiring professional expertise at all levels.
3. The attendance of local and international media will also shed the light on the level of success achieved through the different reviews and articles to be written on this event. This would help correct any potential mistakes and setbacks.
4. The festival, as mentioned earlier, will have other indirect effects on the people, the audience in terms of exposing them to a new experience that could be life changing.