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Posted on Tue, Mar 9, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival March 10-13

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

I was talking to a Palestinian American woman once about dabke dance when she suddenly wished out loud that people could see the beauty of her culture instead of automatically and only thinking about war and political conflict whenever they heard the word, “Palestine” - that there is more to her people than that.

The Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival seeks to show just that and will be offering four days of films about Palestine and by Palestinian directors this week in order “to encourage audiences to discover the complexity of Palestinian culture and the pressing issues concerning the Palestinian people through a medium (the screen arts) that is easily accessible, informational, and entertaining.”

In its second year, the film festival is an independent and non-sectarian organization organized by a group of University of Michigan undergraduates and recent graduates.

Check out their Web site for movie descriptions and details.

Opening Night: Wednesday, March 10, 7:30 p.m. at the Michigan Theater
Michigan premiere of Pomegranates And Myrrh, followed by discussion with Director Najwa Najjar.

Day 2: Thursday, March 11, 7:30 p.m. at the State Theatre
Cannes Film Festival Fipresci Award winner Amreeka, Directed by Cherien Dabis.

Day 3: Friday, March 12, 8 p.m., at the Michigan Union Ballroom
Selection of short films — Neighbors, Thorns and Silk, Make A Wish — plus ArabXpressions showcase with performances and appearances by Arab comedians.

Day 4: Saturday, March 13, 2 p.m., at U-M Law School, Hutchins Hall
Short films: Diploma, Gaza Winter, Welcome to Hebron.

Saturday, March 13, 7 p.m., at the UM Museum of Art (UMMA)
Ajami, a collaboration by Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani, followed by a discussion. Ajami won a special distinction award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village, lead multicultural contributor for, and a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog. She is a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her Web site at, her blog at or reach her at