Billed as being about “Film & Culture About People from Israel & Palestine,” the Voices Forward Film Festival is particularly intriguing because the area is going through a cultural renaissance right now, with writers and directors rejecting the nationalism of the previous generations to tell their own stories. The fest not only unites filmmakers from that troubled region, but it also shows Toronto audiences that, hey, it’s not all bombing and hatred in the Middle East.
Some films are even funny, such as Rashid Masharawi‘s Waiting (pictured right), which is about a director and crew who travel to refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon in order to audition actors for a National Palestinian Theatre. While the would-be thespians show Canadian Idol levels of enthusiasm, the indifferent director himself want wants only to emigrate. Voices Forward runs at the Royal (608 College St.) from May 31 until June 3.