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People of the Land explores the connection the Palestinian people have to land and nature. This collection of short films delves into the ways that occupation affects the environment. Often the actions of an oppressor lead to the destruction of nature, misuse of the land and the limitation of native people's access to the land that they have been stewards of for generations. The films not only highlight this in Palestine but also connect this struggle to that of other indigenous communities. Additionally, the films explore the continued connection Palestinian people have to nature, even when they have been forced to leave or are born in the diaspora. Fruit, herbs, trees and even soil hold on to beloved memories and the rich history of their homeland.

This program is presented in partnership with Storm Studio.

Something from there is a short film on the substance of our original lands. How does connection to land change after uprooting and in diaspora? How does matter embody memories and defy official histories? These are some of the open-ended questions asked in this reflection on the complicated implications of wanting a piece of land after displacement. Weaving between the voices of the artist’s parents, one a refugee and the other not, the film is personal, yet evokes a shared Palestinian experience. A fragmented story of the artist’s father’s exile from Palestine in 1948 is the guiding narrative. As he explains, he has not returned since—but for a single day in the sixties. Her mother, on the other hand, grew up in and has lived in Palestine for much of her life (her contribution to the film was recorded over Zoom while she sat on a patio in her hometown). Although her story is not the focus, it becomes clear that she is able to return and collect the “something from there” referred to. The “something” is never named, though it is the center of the narrative. Is it the soil? A piece of the land? The remains of our ancestors? The distinction between land and body is not made, and rather Something from there focuses on the power of memory and symbol to revive a denied homeland, defy official histories, and counter the settler colonial impetus to erase any assertion of Indigenous life.

Filmmaker bio: Rana Nazzal Hamadeh is a Palestinian-Canadian artist. Her photography film, and installation works look at issues related to time, space, land, and movement, offering interventions rooted in a decolonial framework and using memory and story to engage intimately with broad concepts. Her practice is deeply informed by the knowledge emerging from grassroots movements for justice, both in occupied Palestine and across Turtle Island. Rana holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Toronto Metropolitan University and is based between occupied Ramallah and Ottawa on unceded Anishinaabe territory.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    7 minutes
  • Language
    Arabic, English
  • Country
  • Subtitle Language
  • Director
    Rana Nazzal Hamadeh