Magazine article Screen International

Villa Touma Director Surprised by Controversy

Magazine article Screen International

Villa Touma Director Surprised by Controversy

Article excerpt

Few films in Venice this year have arrived trailing as much controversy in their their wake as Palestinian-Israeli filmmaker Suha Arraf's new feature Villa Touma, which screens in Venice Critics Week.

Arraf's drama received a large part of its funding from public sources in Israel but the director wished it to be identified as a Palestinian film.

There have been calls from such prominent figures as Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat for her to return the Israeli money with which she made the film.

On the eve of her Venice screening, Arraf, respected internationally as the screenwriter of such award winning films as The Syrian Bride and Lemon Tree, said she was baffled by the heated Israeli reaction to Villa Touma.

The writer-director pointed out that she has never denied the film was made with Israeli money. There is nothing in her contract that requires her to present the film as an Israeli production. …

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