Rashid Masharawi is a well-known Palestinian film director in Arab world, Iran and around the world. Born in Gaza in 1962 to a family of refugees from Jaffa, Rashid Masharawi grew up in the Shati refugee camp.
Rashid Masharawi lives and works in Ramallah, where he founded the Cinema Production and Distribution Center with the aim of promoting local film productions. He also sponsors a mobile cinema, which allows him to screen films in Palestinian refugee camps. Other projects include the annual Kids Film Festival and major workshops on film production and directing. Rashid Masharawi regularly organises readings and discussion forums at the Al-Matal cultural centre.
He is famous for his documentaries and feature films and has received several film awards, including Curfew (1994) winner of the Unesco Film Award at the Cannes International Film Festival and also the audience and critics’ prize for the best film at the Montpellier Film Festival
Haifa (1996), A Ticket to Jerusalem (2002), Live from Palestine, (Documentary, 2002), Waiting, (2005), Arafat, my Brother (Documentary 2005), Laila’s Birthday (2008), Land of the Story (Documentary, 2012) Palestine Stereo (2013) and Letters from Al Yarmouk (Documentary, 2014).
His latest feature film,Writing on Snow (2018), is among the films of two sections, Eastern Vista and Broken Olive Branches in 2018 Fajr Film Festival. Here is a short interview with him:
Tell us about the thematic aspects of your latest movie?
The film’s story is in Gaza. It’s about five people in one room, under the Israeli attack on Gaza. It’s a Palestinian film and deals also with Palestinian divisions; between Palestinian and Palestinian. The target of the film is more to accept the others and to make this unity together against the occupation not to have problems between Palestinians and Palestinians.
Did you have any problem or difficulties in shooting because of security reasons?
I could not shoot this film in Gaza, because I had actors from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine, and Al-Quds. These five people who are in the film and l had crew and equipment, so it’s not possible to shoot the film in Gaza. I filmed in our neighborhood, big neighborhood, in Tunisia, because our film has war, bombing and fire so I could not film in between community, it should be an open place to build everything for the story, for the cinema. But the story is in Gaza and you know that I am from Gaza, too.
What do you expect from us to know about your country?
I want from the people who watch the film, also the Palestinians, not only the world and Arabic world and Iranian and outside Palestine, to understand that we must finish the problem between us as Palestinians and this way, we can be stronger against occupation because we are already fighting 70 years the 1948 war, when Israel occupied Palestine. So it’s bad that after 70 years we have two Palestinian governments but no state, under the occupation. And I want to show all the miseries of the occupation against the humans because all the film they are bombing and they are attacking the Palestinians.
The curtain falls on the 36th edition of the Fajr International Film Festival, presided over by Reza Mirkarimi, on Thursday. According to event organizer Mohammad Hamidi Moghaddam, Vahdat Hall is hosting the closing ceremony at 6:30 pm, attended by Iranian and international filmmakers and guests. The most anticipated moment of the Fajr Filmfest includes live classical music performances by tenors Shahram Nazeri and Hafez Nazeri.