Palestinians to host inaugural pavilion at Cannes

One of the films being shopped is a documentary on convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh.

Rasmea Odeh (photo credit: YOUTUBE)
Rasmea Odeh
(photo credit: YOUTUBE)
For the first time in history, the storied Cannes Film Festival will be home to a Palestinian pavilion during the weeklong festivities next month.
The Palestine Film Institute will bringing 10 films – five features and five documentaries – to the festival’s “Producer’s Market,” which connects filmmakers with producers and backers.
PFI called its participation this year “a significant step that reinforces Palestine’s status on the map of world cinema.”
The pavilion is being funded jointly by the Palestinian Culture Ministry and the French Consulate in Jerusalem. It will host events showcasing Palestinian filmmaking, distribute materials and screen trailers.
One of the films being shopped around at the Producer’s Market this year is Unbowed, a documentary by Nehad Khader about convinced terrorist Rasmea Odeh. In February the film received a $10,000 grant from the Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access program.
The film is described as “a unique, intimate, feminist lens from which to explore the history of Palestinian resistance.” It says after Odeh has survived “a lifetime of resistance, torture and prisoner exchanges, she restarts her life in the aftermath of a political deportation.”
Odeh, now 70, was convicted in 1970 for her role in two terrorist bombings in Israel – one that killed two young Israelis. Odeh was sentenced to life in prison, but was released in 1980 in a prisoner swap deal, and moved to Jordan and then to the United States.
In 2013, she was convicted of immigration fraud for lying about her past and in 2017 was deported to Jordan.
Among the other films PFI is hoping will gain backing is The Devil’s Drivers, a documentary in post-production by German- Israeli filmmaker Daniel Carsenty and Palestinian-German Muhammad Abu Geth. The film tells the tale of two Beduin cousins who are smuggling migrant workers through the Negev while they are being chased by the Israeli army.
Another of the documentaries is Mayor by David Osit, a profile of Ramallah Mayor Musa Hadid.
Saudi Arabia will also be making its debut with a pavilion at Cannes this year – just months after the kingdom overturned a 35-year ban on cinemas.
Israel has had a pavilion at the festival since 2016 and will be returning once again this year with workshops and panel discussions.