Israelis-Palestinians: What Can Cinema Do? was the name of the first two editions of this biennale festival. The first was held from 26 March to 1 April 2003, quickly making its mark as an event not to miss, an event that can be qualified as the only biennale festival in Europe bringing these "enemies" together on the same programme.

Founder Janine Halbreich-Euvrard has been a film critic since 1974. That same year she organized - in Royan, France - the first third-world film festival ever held in Europe, already focusing on the Middle East, and of course, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She made a visit to the region in 2004, venturing to meet the filmmakers on their own territory.

By February of 2005, she had published a book bearing the same name, in which she recounts her journey interspersed with a series of interviews with some of the most prominent filmmakers in the region, including Sobhi Al-Zobaidi, Simone Bitton, Tawfiq Abut Wael, Mai Masri, Ram Loevy, Avi Mograbi, Georges Khleifi…The second edition of the biennale festival took place from 1 to 7 June 2005.

In the continuity of this strong beginning, the third edition took place from 21 to 27 November 2007. We recognised the need to widen our approach, for the whole area is implicated in this tragic and endless conflict and that is why the name of the event is now Middle East: What Can Cinema Do?.

Another new element for the 2007 edition was the debate+film daily screening, exploring crucial themes such as the Israeli settlement of Palestinian land, the tragedy of Gaza, that of Lebanon, the war in Iraq and the place of Women in Middle Eastern society.

For 2009, marking the festival's fourth edition, many of the themes were revisited in new works by Middle Eastern filmmakers as the region showed no sign of improving. A new focus was added, that of Iran and the growing unrest among the young people.

Furthermore, Middle East: What Can Cinema Do? was no longer a film week, but rather ran over 12 days. 

Now, here we are in 2011. The name has changed again: Middle East: What Cinema Can Do, in the affirmative form! And it just keeps getting longer; the fifth edition will last two weeks.  In view of the latest Arab Spring developments, it was necessary to add this new theme, marking the inclusion of Egypt for the first time.

Held at the cinema Les 3 Luxembourg, art house cinema owners Gérard and Anne Vaugeois have played an essential role in hosting the festival. Their dedication to bringing thought-provoking films and filmmakers to meet movie audiences on a regular basis has guaranteed that the event and the venue have been in perfect symbiosis.


recent articles
Item posted : 05.11.2011
The Debates
Once again, the festival has invited well-known personalities to participate in the debates, such as Michel Warschawski, Yves Aubin de la Messuzière, Hervé de Charrette, Elias Sambar and more.

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Item posted : 09.11.2009
Let's Rejoice in the Emergence of Hope
Two years ago, the editorial took stock of the extension of the conflict to all regions of the world and the worsening situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What a year 2011! After decades of stagnation, the Arab peoples have taken their destinies in hand.
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Item posted : 05.11.2011
A Theme by Theme Overview
As the years go by, the conflict in the Arab regions changes; the awareness and involvement of the young people who have nothing to lose has exploded. Because of all these movements, it seemed important to us that this year's presentation of the event should be viewed according to themes and not just country by country.
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Item posted : 08.11.2011
Homage to Omar Amiralay
Omar Amiralay, one of the leading figures of Arab cinema, died of a heart attack last February. He was 67. With his death, the Arab world and the world of cinema have lost a great filmmaker and a man of steadfast courage.
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Item posted : 05.11.2011
Festival Committee, Sponsors and Supporters
Meet the people and organizations behind the event. 
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