Palestinian Cinema Timeline

Palestinian Cinema Timeline

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1908

    The first cinema in Palestine – Oracle – is opened in Jerusalem.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1935

    Ibrahim Hassan Sirhan’s film considered the first Palestinian film – a 20 minute documentary about the visit to Palestine by King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia.
    All movies had to be approved by the British Mandate, which put strict conditions on what could be shown, and when.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1937

    One of Palestine’s largest and most luxurious cinemas open - the Alhambra Cinema in Jaffa. As well as screening movies, it hosted famous Arab artists including Umm Khultum, Farid Al Atrash, and Leila Mourad.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1945

    Sirhan and fellow filmmaker Ahmad Hilmi Al Kilani set up the Arab Film Company production studio, also known as Studio Palestine.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1947

    Around 40 cinemas opened across Palestine, in cities including Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Jenin and more.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1948

    The Nakba starts, ceasing all filmmaking within Palestine.
    The period up to 1968 is known as the ‘era of silence’.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1957

    Sirhan helps make Jordan’s first feature film, The Struggle in Jarash.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1958

    Cinema Jenin is founded in the city of Jenin. It became one of the largest and most successful cinemas in Palestine but was closed in 1987 due to the Israeli occupation. It was reopened in 2010 after an extensive renovation but closed again in 2016.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1968

    The Palestinian Film Unit is launched by a collective of exiled Palestinian filmmakers and researchers based in Amman, Jordan, and Beirut, Lebanon.

    The PFU’s first film is released: Say No to the Peaceful Solution, made by Mustafa Abu-Ali, Hani Johariya, and Salah Abu Hannoud.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1970

    The Theatre Arts Group is opened in Jerusalem. In 1984 it was renamed Shawk Theatre, and in 1989 it was renovated to host films.
    In 1998 the theatre moved to Ramallah to become Al Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque, with the cinema officially opening in 2000.
    It is still open today and is the only official multipurpose cinema in the Palestinian territories. 

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1973

    The International Festival for Films and Programs on Palestine is launched in Baghdad.
    The festival was also held in 1976, 1978 and 1980.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1982

    After making around 60 films, and establishing the Palestinian Film Unit/Archive, the PFU effectively ends in 1982 when the PLO was forced out of Beirut. The archive, comprised of more than 100 films from before 1948 up to 1982 was lost or destroyed.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    1998

    The London Palestine Film Festival is launched in London, UK.
    It continues to run annually to this day.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    2002

    The Chicago Palestine Film Festival launches in Chicago, Illinois.
    It continues to run annually to this day.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    2003

    The first Dreams of a Nation film festival takes place at Columbia University, New York.
    The festival was launched on the back of the Dreams of a Nation film project at the university, which was established in the 1990s and seeks to preserve and promote Palestinian cinema.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    2007

    The Boston Palestine Film Festival first takes place in Boston, Massachusetts.
    It continues to run annually to this day.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    2010

     

    Muestra de Cine Palestino (The Palestine Cinema Show) launches in Madrid.
    The initiative shows Palestinian films in Madrid every year between 2010-2015, as well as Seville and Cordoba (2015), Caracas, Venezuela (2011 and 2012), Santiago, Chile (2011, 2014 and 2015), and Buenos Aires, Argentina (2015).

    Cinema Jenin is reopened following two years of renovation work, with the help of a large donation from the German government. However, it is closed again in 2016.

  • Feb 13, 2020

    2014

    Palestine Cinema Days is launched in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jerusalem, and Gaza. It continues to run to this day.

** For a full filmography - explore the pages below **

Next Up:

Palestine Cinema:

A short history

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