A new international film festival, Queer Cinema for Palestine (QCP), will be launched next month with the aim of “celebrating global queer realities and standing in solidarity with Palestinians”. Taking place between November 11 and November 20, the event is set to host some of the 190+ filmmakers who oppose the simultaneous TLVFest, a film festival that QCP organisers accuse of “pinkwashing” Israel’s violent occupation of Palestine.
Hosting both online and in-person events across five continents, the film festival will also provide a platform for filmmakers who previously pulled their films from the TLVFest lineup, in opposition to its partnership with Israeli institutions and acceptance of state funding. One special programme, in particular, will honour eight Brazilian filmmakers who withdrew their short films in 2020.
Another programme aims to highlight Jewish queer cinema in solidarity with Palestinians, while an “Apartheid then and now” programme will bring together South African, Palestinian, and international films and speakers to discuss the opposition of apartheid through cinema and new media.
According to an announcement posted by Queer Cinema for Palestine, the festival came together in May 2021, amid worldwide protests against the Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza and ongoing oppression of Palestinians.
“As Palestinian queers we invite you to join us for a feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial festival that shouts YES to queer cinema and NO to Israeli Apartheid,” says Ghadir al Shafie, co-founder of Aswat – Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms, part of the coalition that organised QCP.
Responding to the widespread boycott of the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival in a statement, festival director Yair Hochner argues that TLVFest has “shown solidarity with the struggle for rights, freedom, and justice of Palestinian queers, and Palestinians in general” since its foundation in 2006.
“TLVFest was, and always will be for Palestinian human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQI+ rights and freedom of speech,” Hochner says. “The festival will never serve as a diversion from the human rights violations being committed by the state of Israel.”
The full Queer Cinema For Palestine programme will be announced in early November.