Most people think of Egypt when talking about cinema in the “Middle East”, but Palestinian films shouldn’t be discounted. The first film produced in Palestine is generally believed to be a documentary detailing King Ibn Saud’s (Saudi Arabia) visit to Palestine in 1935. Nearly a century later, award-winning films are directed and produced in Palestine each year.
This month, we’re speaking with Palestinian director Sameer Qumsiyeh. A Bethlehem native, Sameer has worked in the film industry for over 15 years on projects with international companies like National Geographic and MBC Group, as well as local organizations in Palestine.
Sameer first picked up a camera in 2001 during the Second Intifada and it has been his companion ever since. He's traveled the world - from Palestine to Ecuador - making films and engaging with freedom seekers around the globe.
Filmmaking has been therapeutic for Sameer in making sense of the harsh realities in Palestine, including what it’s like to be from Bethlehem at Christmastime. On December 15th we learned more about his journey to being a filmmaker, his feature documentary Walled Citizen (Winner of the “Stories of the Invisible Youth Award” at Terra di Tutti Film Festival), and what's next.