From 21 to 25 February 2023, the 19th edition of the Al Ard Film Festival took place in Cagliari, Teatro Massimo, showcasing the best in films about Palestine and the Arab world. Hundreds of people came together to experience this edition, resulting in a full theatre on many occasions and a buzzing atmosphere throughout.
This year’s festival saw about 20 international guests, including filmmakers, critics, musicians and journalists, who brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the proceedings. The festival was an excellent opportunity to learn more about Palestine and the Arab world, Palestinian and Arab people, providing a platform for dialogue and understanding.
One of the highlights of the festival was the award ceremony, which honoured the best films in various categories. In the short documentary category, the winner was “4000 voices,” directed by Sajjad Kwaish, with a special mention for “The Silent Protest: 1929 Jerusalem,” directed by Mahasen Nasser-Eldin. The Emerging Director category winner was “Last May in Palestine,” directed by Rabeea Eid, with a special mention for “Eulogy for the Dead Sea,” directed by Polina Teif. In the Film On Palestine category, the winner was “Erasmus in Gaza,” directed by Chiara Avesani and Matteo Delbò, with a special mention for “Waiting for Farajallah,” directed by Nidal Badarny. The Documentary Long Feature category winner was “Not Just Your Picture – the Story of the Kilani family,” directed by Anne Paq and Dror Dayan, with a special mention for “Telling my son’s land,” directed by Ilaria Jovine and Roberto Mariotti. “Sulla loro pelle,” directed by Marika Ikonomu, Alessandro Leone and Simone Manda won both the Sardegna Palestina Award and the Audience Award. Finally, the Best Fiction Short Film category winner was “Yalla,” directed by Carlo D’Ursi.
The festival was a great success, thanks to the hard work of the organizers, volunteers and everyone who attended. It provided an opportunity to celebrate Palestinian film and culture, and to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of the Palestinian people and the Arabs in general.
We are very proud that Al Ard Film Festival is becoming every year more an essential event for anyone interested in film, culture, and the complexities of the Arab world. We look forward to next year’s festival and to experiencing even more outstanding films.