Palestinian Films in southland offer hope for peace


A CELEBRATION OF PALESTINIAN CULTURE is an enlightening cultural festival that shares stories of the Holy Land and celebrates Palestinian creativity. Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, with Bright Stars of Bethlehem says, “Our aim is that our people, who admire stars, will dare to look up and dream, to believe in goals to strive for, and develop a new sense of hope, community, beauty and faith.” Jordan Elgrably, director of the Levantine Cultural Center adds, “It’s time for a new vision of what it means to be Palestinian—one that celebrates the nation’s creativity, imagination and resourcefulness.”

To enrich participants’ experience of Palestinian culture, CELEBRATION is a multimedia experience with an art exhibition, feature film screenings followed by Q&As with the directors, public conversations, and live performances by the avant-garde Diyar Dance Theatre from Bethlehem, and the international Palestinian hip-hop sensation, DAM.

CELEBRATION will showcase UNDER THE SAME SUN, the new feature film from Sameh Zoabi, the writer/director of MAN WITHOUT A CELL PHONE. The series also showcases IT’S BETTER TO JUMP, the award-winning documentary from directors Patrick Stewart, Gina M. Angelone and  Mouna Stewart  and THE STONES CRY OUT, a documentary that tells the story of Palestinian Christians,

The Inside/Outside Gallery at the Levantine Cultural Center will show “We Are Palestine,” a touring Palestinian art exhibition of 16 new works from West Bank artists, with an opening reception Sept. 30, 7-9 pm. The exhibition includes paintings, photography and mixed media and will be on display through Nov 1, 2013. Originally titled “Room for Hope,” the collection offers an eclectic selection of work by both Christian and Muslim artists from Bethlehem and the surrounding region.

“We Are Palestine” is the result of a juried call for art from artists living in the West Bank, Gaza and part of Israel. Sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church, Bethlehem, Palestine, and the U.S. non-profit organization Bright Stars of Bethlehem ( the exhibit is part of a cultural initiative begun by the Reverend Dr. Mitri Raheb, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church.

A CELEBRATION OF PALESTINIAN CULTURE is presented by Bright Stars of Bethlehem and the Levantine Cultural Center, with support from the California Charitable Foundation, Royal Jordanian Airlines, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM. Reservations and tickets, 323.413.2001.

Films screening during this festival include:

OCT 1, 7 PM— IT’S BETTER TO JUMP (2013) (Los Angeles premiere), a new documentary about the ancient walled city of Akka (aka Acre) in northern Israel, inhabited by Muslims, Christians, Jews and Baha’i. Akka’s history goes all the way back to rule of the Egyptian Pharaohs, but as the city undergoes harsh economic pressures and vast social change, the present-day situation is causing Arab families to leave the places where they have grown roots for dozens of generations and shaped a rich culture for over a thousand years. This film focuses on the aspirations and concerns of the Palestinian inhabitants who call the Old City home. Followed by Q&As with filmmakers Patrick Stewart, Gina M. Angelone and Mouna Stewart. Harmony Gold Theatre, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046.

OCT 2, 7 PM—UNDER THE SAME SUN (2013) (Los Angeles premiere), a new drama, produced by Search for Common Ground, directed by Sameh Zoabi,  imagines what might happen if a Palestinian businessman (Ali Suliman) were to join forces with an Israeli entrepreneur (Yossi Marshak) to build a new solar energy firm serving the needs of Palestinians in the West Bank. Followed by a Q&A with Sameh Zoabi, Harmony Gold Theatre, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046.

OCT 3—PALESTINIAN WOMEN IN FILM (Los Angeles premieres), with Yasmine Perni’s THE STONES CRY OUT, we begin to understand that all too often media coverage of the conflict in Palestine has framed it as a fight between Muslims and Jews, largely ignoring the fact that Palestine was the birthplace of Christianity, that Palestinians are both Muslims and Christians, and that Palestinian Christians have played a critical role in their land’s history and the struggle to maintain its identity. RESTORED PICTURES—a documentary, directed by Mahasen Nasser-Eldin, about the life of Karimeh Abbud, the first female photographer in pre-1948 Palestine. Her photos are important historical records of life in Palestine in the early 1900s. Followed by Q&As with Mahase n Nasser-Eldin and Yasmine Perni, Harmony Gold Theatre, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046.

OCT 5, 2:30 PM—DIYAR DANCE THEATRE (Los Angeles premiere). Also 4-6 pm, IT’S BETTER TO JUMP and short films and discussion. 6:30-7:30 reception, followed by 8:00 PM DIYAR DANCE THEATRE, 9:30 PM, DAM HIP HOP CONCERT, Harmony Gold Theatre, 7655 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046.

OCT 6, 1:30 PM—DIYAR DANCE THEATRE (Irvine premiere). Films and discussion, 4:00-5:30 pm. 5:30-6:30 reception with audience to meet dancers/filmmakers. 6:30-8:00 pm DAM HIP HOP CONCERT. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4199 Campus Dr., Irvine, CA 92612. Tel. 949.854.4607.

Additional short films screening in the series are:
TOWN BARBER—a film about an old barber in the town of Beit Sahour who offers haircuts for men, which are not modern in style but rather old-fashioned.

SPACE OF THE ALLEYS—a film about a group of teenagers who practice “Parkour” as a creative way to express themselves and overcome the difficult situation and frustration they face living in the Old City of Jerusalem.

HEAVY PEEL OF ONION—a story about three people from different generations who emigrated to Norway. The film tries to work with the issue of identity, and looking into how and why they emigrated.

Panels will be held to further discussion about topics covered by the films and to bring light and conversation to the Palestinian culture and people.

WHERE        Harmony Gold Theatre,7655 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

WHEN           Evenings, 6:30 pm on, Oct., 1, 2 & 3 (film series, panels & receptions),  Oct. 5, 2:30 pm DIYAR matinee, films, 8:00 pm DIYAR evening show, 9:30 pm, DAM hip hop performance       

COST            Tickets $12-$35, movies $6 for students. Series pass $100 for all events

Tickets can be purchased at For additional information, please call 323.413.2001 or e-mail

WHERE          Irvine Theatre,4199 Campus Dr, Irvine, CA 92612, Tickets/info 949.854.4607

WHEN            12 noon-9 pm, Oct., 6 (film series, panels & receptions)

COST             Tickets $12-$36, movies $6 for students. Series pass $100 for all events including VIP luncheon on Oct. 6. Tickets can be purchased at For additional information, please call 323.413.2001 or e-mail


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