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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Palestinian film festival planned
Robert Redford
Robert Redford produced The Motorcycle Diaries which will open the festival
The first major film festival to be held in the Palestinian territories has been launched in Cannes.

The Ramallah International Film Festival (RIFF) will showcase 40 global films, opening with a film about Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries.

Middle East directors including Elia Suleiman and Jafar Panahi have agreed to introduce screenings of their films.

The RIFF, which runs from 17-22 June, will also showcase the work of school age screenwriters.

Suleiman and Panahi have both had past success at the Cannes Film Festival.

Festival director Adam Zuabi said: "Our belief is that the establishing of an international film festival in Palestine is a tool unlike any other to try, together with our partners, to unlock the stalemate and develop a relationship with the key players around the world who shape the culture of cinema."

The festival is backed by a number of organisations including Arabic TV station al-Jazeera, the UK's Channel 4, the British Council and Italy's API.

Mr Zuabi added: "With a rich programme and focused educational projects, this all means that the RIFF is an important addition to our cultural life, a crossroads of cultural exchange and meeting, both for Palestinians amongst ourselves and also between us and the world."

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