Moncho Iglesias, Amal in palestine Coordinator, tell us where did this idea came from and hos is this second editiong developping so far in thi sinterview.
Where did idea of organizing AMAL in Palestine came from?
The project was born from the idea of bringing a new kind of hope to Palestine. Here in Palestine, we cannot do many activities, including going to the movies. In Nablus, for example, there is only one cinema that opened just a year ago. Whenever there is a theatre play at University, the theater is full, but unfortunately this does not happen very often. AMAL is a possibility for viewing films outside from the commercial circuit and not just films on of occupation and life in Palestine, an issue well known by society.
I have known the Araguaney Foundation for many years, and have collaborated with them a few times. When I suggested the project, they accepted immediately. Then, I asked them for films that did not contain any type image or dialogue that could offend the sensibilities of Palestinian people. Films were viewed first in Santiago de Compostela and then again in Palestine. In addition to the An-Najah University, I asked if any other sites would be open to an Arab film festival called Amal, considered as one of the best in the world at the moment. People responded very positively to this proposal, and everyone accepted to project these films free of charge. In addition, the OTC of Jerusalem got involved in advertising, making it easier to distribute posters throughout the West Bank and giving a greater coverage to the event. In addition to An-Najah, films were also projected at Balata refugee camp, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Thus, to some extent, Amal in Palestine covers a wide area, providing a different activity to local people. At the same time, the projections in the University are also a support for students learning Spanish. All films are projected in Arab with Spanish subtitles, so many students are not only attracted by the idea of watching a movie, but also to discover Spanish words they already know in the subtitles.
How is this second edition developping so far?
At present, this second edition is having a considerable success. An-Najah University is very responsive to all sorts of activities. Last year, when Nakba, a film that lasts almost four hours, was screened, the theather was full . This second edition is just starting now, but I'm sure that many people will come to the projections. The word of mouth helps a lot, and makes even more and more people to come along. In Balata refugee camp, we will have two school visits, a talk, and a question and answer sessión after each screening.
What are the main objectives of this film series?
The main objective is to provide a leisure activity to the people in Palestine. Try to offer them the possibility of watching films that would not get there otherwise, and get to places where people are not very used to watch movies. It is interesting to see people going "to the cinema" for the first time, and watch how they get all excited. On the other hand, bringing AMAL to Palestine offers the opportunity to travel to other worlds and cultures, or even learn a little more about ourselves. Last year, for example, it was very amusing to see the different reactions caused by the film Lesh Sabreen, depending on the place. While in Jerusalem it was viewed without comments, in Nablus and Balata there was laughter whenever the action was taking place in the bathroom. Not only is it nice to see people attending to the projections, because it is encouraging to confirm that the activity has a good response, but also to watch different reactions. Furthermore, in the case of An-Najah University, students can practice their Spanish with the subtitles.. And I vouch for this, because I have students who watch the films and enjoy recognizing those words they already know.