With the opening tomorrow (5 August) of Cinema Jenin, a project comes to fruition that received special support under the Federal Foreign Office’s “Future for Palestine” initiative.
Once the West Bank’s largest cinema, Cinema Jenin closed in 1987 during the first Intifada. Over the past two years a team of Palestinians and international volunteers have been working to make it once again a major cultural venue. Dozens of German volunteers, too, have taken part in the refurbishment. The cinema opens its doors tomorrow with a special festival, after which normal operations will start. There are also plans for a filmmaking school with workshops and a subtitling studio.
The project is a collaborative endeavour involving the Cinema Jenin Association, a non-profit organization founded by German documentary maker Marcus Vetter, the Federal Foreign Office, a large number of German companies and “betterplace.org”, an Internet platform for social projects. The new jobs created by the project will ensure a long-term impact. With its solar roof and LED screen, the refurbished cinema is a trailblazer in this crisis-torn region. The Federal Foreign Office has sponsored Cinema Jenin with some 325,000 euro.
Through its “Future for Palestine” initiative, the Federal Foreign Office is supporting quick-start projects that will bring tangible benefits to people in the Palestinian territories. The idea is to improve locally and sustainably the prospects for young people in particular. Another aim of the initiative is to provide visible assistance to the Palestinian Authority’s state-building agenda. “Future for Palestine” is an approach that complements classic development cooperation and involves not only the two Governments but also civil society. To date the Federal Foreign Office has made over 2 million euro available for “Future for Palestine” projects, mainly in the area of education and culture.