This month’s Palestinian Film Festival (PFF) has been postponed in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict, with organiser Naser Shakhtour declaring “now is not the time to hold a film festival”.
The event, which was to screen three features, five documentaries, and three shorts, was scheduled to be held in Sydney this weekend, before making its way to Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Canberra throughout October.
It will now be held at a later date, with PFF to instead screen two documentaries – Andy Trimlett and Ahlam Muhtaseb’s 1948: Creation & Catastrophe and Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell’s Gaza – on its website in order to “promote an increased understanding of what is happening in occupied Palestine”.
The decision comes four days after Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, launched a surprise attack on Israel, shooting rockets at southern and central Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, while also taking a number of Israeli citizens hostage.
Israel has since retaliated, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu carrying out intensifying air strikes along the Gaza strip and vowing to cut off food and electricity for the residents.
In a statement, Shakhtour described the continuing crisis as “heartbreaking”.
“Our thoughts, prayers, and love are with the innocent and vulnerable people caught up in this latest war,” he said.
“This is not the time to hold a film festival. It is time to mourn the dead, pay our respects to those suffering, and work together to bring an immediate end to the ongoing atrocities against innocent civilians. It is for these reasons, we have decided to postpone the 2023 Palestinian Film Festival Australia.”
Online ticket purchases will be refunded through the original payment method. Those who made over-the-counter sales should contact the site of purchase. Find Shakhtour’s full statement here.