Palestinians attend a ceremony for the fifth annual Red-Carpet Human Rights Film Festival in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, 04 December 2018. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
Gaza, December 5 (efe-epa).- The Red Carpet Human Rights Film Festival has kicked off in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for the fifth consecutive year.
Forty-five films from around the world will be screened in the coastal enclave between 4-11 December, according to Montasser al-Sabea the technical director of the festival.
Filmmakers together with diplomats and human rights activists rolled out a 100-meter-long red carpet along the main road on Wednesday evening in front of one of Gaza City's old cinema buildings.
A huge screen was erected on the road along with billboards showing the logo of the event.
"40 percent of the films were produced in Europe and 40 percent were produced in Arab countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt and for the first time 5 films, which were nominated this year, were produced in Palestine," al-Sabea said.
"All the participating films in the festival are human rights films."
Hundreds of men, women, and children walked down the red carpet during Wednesday's gala attended by politicians and rights activists.
The festival’s organizers said that this year the slogan was I’m Human and an opportunity for Palestinians to share a message with the world that 2 million people have been living in Gaza under Israeli blockade for 13 years.
"The film that was screened during the opening ceremony on the large white cinema screen of the festival is called Gaza, and it is directed by an Irish Producer," Abed Hussein executive director of the festival said.
"The film talks about the populations’ suffering over the past 13 years," he added.
Before 1987, when the first Palestinian Intifada broke out, there were 11 cinema theaters in the Gaza Strip, which has been ruled by the Islamic Hamas movement since 2007.
But all cinemas were forced into closure when the violent conflict with Israel broke out.
"We chose the cinema theater building for the opening ceremony of the festival in order to send a message to the world that more than 2 million people in Gaza have been living under a tight Israeli blockade, love life and are eager to live in dignity in an independent state," Hussein said.
Human rights groups said that more than 70 percent of the population has never been to a cinema in the Gaza Strip and more than 60 percent have never flown on an airplane and never left the coastal town.
"Our message this year is to tell the world that Gaza Strip populations want to end the blockade and end more than ten years of internal Palestinian division," Hussein continued.
Maysa’a Abdullah, a 45-year-old Palestinian woman from Gaza, who went with her two daughters to watch the festival's opening film, said:
"I came here today with my daughters because this event is different for me.
"It helps people get out of the horrible and miserable situation that they are passing through," she added.