Northern Ireland news

Gaza film team donate prize money to festival appeal

A surreal image as the red carpet is rolled out amid the rubble for the film festival in Gaza
Mairead Holland

THE makers of an Irish documentary on Gaza which won an award last week have donated their prize money to reinstate a film festival in the troubled Palestinian territory.

The Red Carpet Film Festival has been running since 2015 but ended last year due to lack of funds.

Donegal-born directors Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell from Fermanagh, along with Belfast producer Brendan J Byrne, have handed over their £2,500 prize.

They say people there "desperately need any outlet to escape the pain and anguish they suffer constantly" and that films offer a means of escapism.

The appeal aims to raise £18,500 in the next few months for the festival, with the total currently sitting at around £7,000.

The team's documentary, Gaza, made over the course of five years, won the inaugural Pull Focus Award for best new Irish documentary at the Docs Ireland film festival.

Mr Keane said: "Making the film Gaza was an eye-opener for us into how incredibly difficult it is for people to live there.

"The Gaza Red Carpet Film Festival has in the past provided a means of escape through the arts to those who live there. Film can bring people together to forget about their life and be transported elsewhere."

Since all the cinemas in Gaza have been destroyed, those who feature in the documentary have not yet watched it.

The plan is to host a special premiere of the film if enough funds are raised to support the festival.


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