Women in Focus


We are grateful for funding from Leeds Inspired in 2018, which has enabled us to show five specially featured films either made by or portraying inspiring Palestinian women.


From The Guardian:

Path-breaking Palestinian writer-director Annemarie Jacir has made three feature films: Salt of This Sea (2008), When I Saw You (2012), and now Wajib, which has proved a prize-winning festival favourite since premiering at Locarno last year. As with both of her previous features, Jacir’s latest was selected as the official Palestinian entry for the foreign-language film Oscar, but failed to gain a nomination.

Though overlooked by the Academy, Jacir continues to impress with this poignant, bittersweet comedy of estrangement and identity…

Stitching Palestine

12 resilient, articulate and determined Palestinian women from different walks of life share their moving life stories, all connected by the enduring thread of the ancient art of embroidery. This film, directed by Carol Mansour, includes a Q&A session with Yorkshire textile artist Deborah Mullins, whose work is based around Palestine.

Carol Mansour is an award-winning Canadian/Palestinian film maker with over 25 years in documentary production, who has covered the world from Sri Lanka to Lebanon to Uzbekistan. She has achieved international recognition, and awards for her films, with over fifty film festival screenings worldwide. She founded Forward Film Production in 2000 in Beirut, Lebanon.

Around the Wall and Shireen of al-Walaja

Filmmaker Blue shot the short film ‘Around the Wall’ as a member of a UK women football delegation who went to Palestine to play and talk with women about the obstacles encountered playing football for women in Palestine.

In the second short film, Shireen, an inspiring woman activist fights for the survival of her home village of al-Walaja, currently under imminent threat of demolition. Shireen left her full time job in the United Nations to return to her home village of al-Walaja and fight for its survival. The film was shot over four years. Al-Walaja is still under intense threats of demolition, with more homes demolished in September this year.

Shireen of al-Walaja is directed by Friend of the Festival, Daz Chandler, an Australian film-maker. Her work has screened at international film festivals throughout Europe, the United States and Australia and shown in galleries in Sydney, Newcastle, New York, Ramallah & Istanbul.

Naila and the Uprising

When an uprising breaks out in 1987, Naila, an iron-willed Gazan woman, promotes non violent struggle and must choose between love, family and freedom. This film gives a hugely inspiring and important insight into the Palestinian women who secretly led the First Intafada.

Julia Bacha is Brazilian film maker, she wrote and co-directed Encounter Point (2006) and directed Budrus (2009), both stories of courageous bridge-building between Palestinians and Israelis in a highly volatile environment.  My Neighborhood (2012), follows a Palestinian teenager struggling to reclaim his home in East Jerusalem from Jewish settlers. Naila is her latest film, for which she was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Naila is a free showing, funded by Leeds Inspired, and includes a Q&A session with Shahd Abusalama, Palestinian woman activist, artist and author.