Nazra Palestine Short Film Festival is a traveling cinema project about and from Palestine, born in 2017 from the synergy of various associations, volunteers, and citizens passionate about the Middle East, cinema, and solidarity with the cause. After some online editions due to the global pandemic, Nazra evolves and becomes an association. The intentions behind the project remain the same, even clearer and more necessary in light of the historical circumstances of recent months.

Nazra in Arabic means “gaze”, with an eye as its logo and cinema as its medium. The festival’s purpose is to broaden the perspective of those familiar with the Palestinian issue and those approaching it for the first times. Through the lens of cinema, Nazra serves as both a filter and a tool of cultural resistance, telling the stories of Palestinians. Nazra aims to be an archive of Palestinian short films, showcasing their avant-garde spirit and amplifying the voices of Palestinian authors who might otherwise go unheard. What better way to spread this valuable archive than throughout Italy and beyond?

Thus, Nazra was born and grows as a traveling festival, with a national organizing committee selecting and curating the archive each year, a powerful tool for preserving and disseminating Palestinian memory, threatened since 1948 and increasingly so today. The venues hosting Nazra are diverse: universities, theaters, museums, formal and informal association headquarters, prisons, clubs, and above all, cinemas, to restore artistic dignity to works and authors struggling to gain international recognition due to the absence of a Palestinian film industry. To address this gap and support new talent, Nazra annually holds a competition traditionally featuring three sections: fiction, documentaries, and experimental works. This year, inevitably, the festival broadens its scope to include war reportage with the new category “Gaze on Gaza”, whereby Gaza symbolically represents the entire Palestinian archipelago. Winners of each category receive a cash prize and/or collaboration proposals with festival partner organizations.

In past editions, the Nazra tour has been hosted by cities such as Venice, Turin, Padua, Trieste, Udine, Bologna, Naples, Rome, and Bari, and following October 7th, a dense network of collaborations was activated, leading to a proliferation of Nazra screenings on the international stage and the emergence of several Nazra events in many more Italian cities.

Our goal is to promote and support Palestinian cinema and culture comprehensively. To join Nazra’s tour with your association, click here. We are all Nazra.