This is for the first time that a major OTT is streaming a Palestinian film collection, much to the chagrin of Isreal.
Palestinian director Ameen Nayfeh said he felt proud after bringing to life through film his personal struggle in crossing an Israeli military checkpoint to visit his dying grandfather. But he did not expect his short film to have a wide audience, Reuters reported.
“This is why we make films. Because we want our stories to travel, we want people to know about us,” Nayfeh said”Now, when you type Palestine in the search button on Netflix, you will see so many different titles that you can watch. Before, when I would type Palestine, I would get Israeli titles,” media quoted him saying.
Netflix’s new Palestinian collection, titled Palestinian Stories, is made up of 32 award-winning films that are either directed by Palestinian filmmakers or tell Palestinian stories, the company said in a press release on Tuesday.
“The diversification of our content sits close to my heart as Netflix works to become the home of Arabic cinema,” said Nuha El-Tayeb, a spokesperson for Netflix.
Many of the films tell stories of Palestinian life in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and which Palestinians seek for a future independent state.
Israel maintains military checkpoints in the West Bank, citing security concerns. Palestinians say the roadblocks severely restrict their mobility throughout the territory.
Before filmmakers, Palestinian musicians began reaping the benefits of streaming to a global audience after Spotify launched its music streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa in 2018.Netflix has made the new collection of Palestinian films available to all customers, the company said.
Huda Al-Imam, an actress in the Oscar-nominated film, Ave Maria, which is also featured in Netflix’s Palestinian collection, said it would expand the reach of Palestinian stories.