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Panel discussion: “How does cinema tackle political issues in a universal language?” Case study: “Palestinian Nakba in Arab Cinema”



Date of Event: 17/07/2018

Time of Event: 18:30

Location of Event: The Royal Film Commission

Tuesday 17 July 

6:30 PM 

At the Royal Film Commission 

Panel discussion: “How does cinema tackle political issues in a universal language?” 

Case study: “Palestinian Nakba in Arab Cinema” 

Panelists: Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah, Lebanese director Hady Zaccak, Palestinian Artistic Director and founder of “Filmlab: Palestine” Hanna Atallah and Jordanian director Darin J. Sallam. 

Topics of the panel: 

• Narrative films dealing with historical and political issues (experiences of the directors speaking at the panel). 

• Challenges faced by the directors while making their films about the Palestinian Nakba. 

• How do we convey issues, which are intimately linked to us, with a universal language? 

• How doe fiction movies contribute to advocating for a particular political cause? 

• When speaking of politics, to what extent should fiction movies be reflective of actual facts? 


About the panelists


• Yousry Nasrallah 

Born in 1952 in Cairo. After studying economics and political science at Cairo University, Yousry Nasrallah went to live in Lebanon where he became a film critic. He began his career in film in 1980 as assistant to Volker Schlöndorff on “Die Fälschung” and to Youssef Chahine on “An Egyptian Story" (aka"La Mémoire") and “Adieu Bonaparte” which he also co-wrote. In 1987, he directed his first film “Summer Thefts”, produced by Youssef Chahine, and considered as one of the films that most contributed to the revival of Egyptian cinema. He carried on his collaboration with Chahine as co-director of “Alexandria Again and Forever” (1990) and “Cario As Seen BY Chahine” (1991). In 1994, Nasrallah directed “Marcides” and, in 1995, the documentary “On Boys, Girls and The Veil”. In 1999, “El Medina” was awarded the Special Jury Prize in Locarno Film Festival. In 2004, his film “The Door to the Sun” (Bab el Shams), taken from Elias Khoury's novel, was presented in the 2004 Cannes Official Selection (out of competition). His 2012 film “After the Battle” competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Nasrallah presents a very special and distinctive vision in his films where he tries to approach the Egyptian society and the psychological formations of its citizens, which is evident in most of his work. 


• Hady Zaccak 

Hady Zaccak is a Lebanese award-winning documentary maker and a professor at IESAV film school (Saint-Joseph University/Beirut).

He is the author of more than 20 documentaries, which have participated in major festivals and received numerous awards. His selective filmography includes: “Ya Omri” (“104 wrinkles”) (2017), “Kamal Joumblatt, Witness and Martyr” (2015), "Marcedes" (2011), "A History Lesson" (2009), “The war of peace” (2007), "Refugees for life" (2006). 

In 2011, Zaccak founded ZAC Films with his crew that has already produced several films.


• Hanna Atallah 

Hanna Atallah, born in Jerusalem, carries a B.A. degree in Cinema Studies (Director section) from the Academy of Art / High Cinema Institute- Egypt.
Atallah is a filmmaker, producer and cultural art manager who worked in different countries. His experience covers filmmaking projects (Fiction and Documentary). He was the initiator, producer and manager of the Palestinian Memory Documentation Project in Talbiyeh refugee camp in Jordan. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the FilmLab: Palestine, which is focusing on a productive, dynamic film industry in Palestine, to boost Palestinian film production and cinema culture. 


• Darin J. Sallam 

Jordanian director and writer, Darin J. Sallam, holds an MFA from the Red Sea Institute for Cinematic Arts (RSICA). To her credit, are five award-winning short films including “Still Alive” and “The Dark Outside”. Her latest short film “The Parrot”, a joint writing/directing project which is set in Palestine 1948, received the 2015 Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the jury award at Twin Cities Minnesota and Malmö Arab Film Festivals 2017. 

Sallam’s upcoming project is her debut feature narrative film, “Farha”, set at the height of Al-Nakba events in Palestine 1948. The project received multiple awards and is selected to several regional and international film markets. 
In addition, Sallam has been a jury member on several international film festivals. She is also co-founder and managing partner at TaleBox, a Jordanian production, and training company based in Amman.