In an exclusive interview with the public relations of Documentary & Experimental Film Center (DEFC), Clemesha discussed her background in documentary filmmaking, emphasizing her role as a co-founder of the “Images from the East” film festival in Sao Paulo. The festival, active from 2007 for approximately six years, aimed to amplify the voices of the Middle East, showcasing films from regions such as Iran, Palestine, and other Arab territories.


As a testament to her commitment to the Palestinian cause, Clemesha has been invited to conduct a workshop at the Cinema Verite Festival, delving into the question of Palestine through the lens of the renowned Palestinian intellectual Edward Said. Said's critique of Orientalism, which challenges the constructed division between East and West, serves as a foundation for Clemesha's exploration of the erasure faced by the Palestinian people due to colonialism and occupation. She explained, "The Palestinian question is a question of erasure. The Palestinian people are being erased for 100 years. The problem lies in colonialism, in structures of power, in domination.”


Clemesha expressed her belief in the power of documentary filmmaking to convey a more accurate depiction of Palestine and its people. Despite challenges in mainstream media coverage, she sees documentaries as a potent tool for raising awareness and consciousness. "I do believe that documentary filmmaking is a very powerful tool for conveying a more precise, clearer image about Palestine, about the people, about the Palestinians, about what's happening to them," she asserted.


Addressing the ongoing Israeli onslaught on Gaza, Clemesha urged activists, filmmakers, artists, and protesters to use their voices fearlessly. She noted the fabrication of narratives to justify atrocities, stressing the need to deconstruct these falsehoods and reveal the truth behind the situation. "Speak out, demonstrate peacefully, and use your non-violent resistance. It's really an atrocity that what is happening, and humanity will have to cope with this," she insisted.


In discussing the Cinema Verite Festival's Gaza panel, Clemesha commended the festival's commitment to addressing critical issues, especially in the aftermath of the Gaza massacre, stating, "The festival, I imagine from what I could understand, once the Gaza massacre happened, they decided to have a section, which is totally justifiable. It's important. It's important to discuss this."


The interview concluded with mutual appreciation, highlighting the significance of conversations that amplify the voices of those advocating for justice in the face of oppression. Arlene Clemesha's presence at the Cinema Verite Festival stands as a testament to the enduring power of film and dialogue in advancing the cause of justice and human rights.


The 17th edition of "Cinema Verite" Festival, under the direction of Mohammad Hamidi Moghadam, takes place from December 18 to 23 at the Charsou Cineplex.


By: Ehsan Padeganeh