PalFest Begins, Filmmaker Sara Ishaq Denied Entry

The Palestine Festival of Literature opens today. The first event is set for Ramallah this evening, but one participant won’t be there: Yemeni-Scottish filmmaker Sara Ishaq.

From Ishaq's Facebook page.
From Ishaq’s Facebook page.

Ishaq was set to appear in Bethelem on Wednesday, at Bethlehem University’s Furno Hall, alongside Leila Abdelrazaq, Malika Booker, Nathalie Handal, and Dirk Wanrooij.

She went to the Allenby Bridge with other PalFest participants. But, after a reported ten hours of waiting, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker was banned from Palestine for four years. She wrote on Facebook:

One month ago my 5-year ban to enter Palestine finally ended. I attempted to return on Wednesday to attend the Palestine Literature Festival where I was due to speak and present my film. After 10 hours of waiting, scrutiny and hostile interrogations by‪#‎Israeli‬ border control (Allenby Bridge), I was denied access to ‪#‎Palestine‬ and banned for another 5 years (and forced to wait in a bus for 3 hours without my passport until the border closed at 1am).

Ishaq’s debut short feature was Marie My Girl (2012), and her debut documentary was the celebrated Karama Has No Walls (2012), which was nominated for the BAFTA Scotland New Talents, One World Media awards, and for a Best Documentary (Short Subject) Oscar. In 2013, Ishaq also completed her first feature film, The Mulberry House.

More on PalFest:

2015 Schedule (May 23-28) and Writers

Follow the fest at

More on Ishaq:

Yemen Times: Yemeni-Scot Filmmaker Sara Ishaq to the Yemen Times: ‘It’s Silly for hte Government to Restrict the Cinema Movement’ (2012)

The National: Sara Ishaq’s journey from making a family film to the Oscar-nominated documentary Karama Has No Walls (2014)

Ahram Online: Oscar-Nominated Scottish Yemeni Filmmaker Sara Ishaq’s Search for Identity (2015)

Qantara: Yemen Was Like a Garden That Was Full of Weeds (2015)

1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Jett's Desk and commented:
    Because she made a documentary that she didn’t like, Sara Ishaq is essentially being banned from the country forever. She isn’t allowed to even go to the Palestinian Territories to be at a viewing of her own film. This is the sort of crackdown on freedom by Israel that doesn’t get enough exposure in the West and is indefensible.

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