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Ken Loach & Paul Laverty @ Toronto Palestine Film Festival 1of6

by Anita Krajnc

See video

TPFF in Conversation With Ken Loach and Paul Laverty

The Toronto Palestine Film Festival hosts a conversation between Ken Loach (Land and Freedom, Wind That Shakes the Barley, Route Irish) and Paul Laverty (Looking for Eric, Sweet Sixteen, Carla's Song). TPFF Festival Coordinator, Rafeef Ziadah, moderates the conversation with Loach and Laverty as they reflect on their recent works and the challenges they face in making films that tackle highly politicized issues in the Middle East.

TPFF is proud to present this Speaker Series in partnership with the Department of Film at York University, the Faculty of Arts at the Ontario College of Art and Design, the Communication and Culture Program at Ryerson University, and the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at the University of Toronto.

Part 1 of 6:
Rafeef Ziadah (moderator) asks how their new film "Route Irish", which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival (2010), differs from the many Hollywood films on the Iraq war. Laverty and Loach say the film is about the tragedy in Iraq as a result of the occupation. Other films, says Ken Loach, tend to see the Iraq war as an American tragedy, whereas Route Irish "leaves the audience with a feeling that it is an Iraqi tragedy where over a million people have died, 4 million displaced... That's the tragedy."
See Trailer at

Part 2 of 6:
Rafeef Ziadah (moderator) asks Loach and Laverty about their ideas of balance in film-making.

Part 3 of 6
Rafeef Ziadah (moderator) asks Ken Loach and Paul Laverty how they came to the issue of Palestine initially, to the point of endorsing the 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel until it complies with international law. Loach discusses the withdrawal by the Royal Court Theatre of the Jim Allen play Perdition as a result of pressure from the Zionist lobby and the resultant negative coverage in the mainstream British press. Loach says, "There is something very wrong here when a state, founded on race, has such power... and from then on, my mind was made up." On their strong endorsement of BDS, Laverty says, "We are faced with a situation where grassroots organizations in the West Bank and Gaza are saying we have suffered this, we have no voice, they are ignoring international law. We have debated this with our grassroots organizations and we have been sent lists of all the organizations and we take and trust that there's been debate and there's a democratic reflection of grassroots opinion when they ask us to support them. We have a choice... do we say 'no' or do you say you do not care. So, obviously, we had to make a decision and you must show which side you're on."

Part 4 of 6:
Rafeef Ziadah (moderator) asks Ken Loach and Paul Laverty how they address the issue of censorship and when will they do a film about Palestine. Q & A begins with the question of why they make films. An audience member asks Laverty about his brilliant new film Even The Rain, covering two time zones, one, the colonialism Christopher Columbus set in motion, and the other, the neocolonial water wars in Bolivia in 2000 when a multinational corporation attempted to privatize water. Ken Laoch is asked to comment on the Free Gaza Flotilla movement.

Part 5 of 6:
Q & A continues with questions about what film aesthetics they find most effective in achieving social change, how their films are able to sum up very difficult ideas with very few words and scenes, and how events in this particular historical moment, such as economic turmoil, climate crisis, possible war in Iran, have an impact on film-making.

Part 6 of 6:
Q & A continues with questions about Toronto municipal elections, the issue of balance in film-making, and whether they will make a film in the Occupied Territories.

Thursday Sept 16, Stanford Fleming Building University of Toronto
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Video Production: Anita Krajnc

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