Slingshot Hip Hop (Palestine/USA, 2008, 87 minutes, DigiBeta)
By: Jackie Reem Salloum
Screens: Friday, October 17, 7pm
Slingshot Hip Hop braids together the stories of young Palestinians living in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank as they discover hip hop and employ it as a tool to surmount divisions imposed by occupation and poverty. The film begins with Tamer, Suhell, and Mahmoud of DAM, the first ever Palestinian hip hop group, from their early, awkward recording attempts in an Israeli studio to fiery, sold-out shows in Europe. We experience their politicization with the outbreak of the second Intifada, their emergence as community leaders, and their years-long struggle to produce an album in spite of crushing poverty. Through DAM we meet Mahmoud Shalabi, an irreverent rapper from Akka, along with solo R&B artist Abeer and rap group Arapeyat, young women pushing up against cultural boundaries to emerge as talented artists in the Palestinian hip hop scene. Meanwhile, Mohammed, Kan’aan and Mezo of PR (Palestinian Rapperz) have begun emulating DAM and other rappers in Israel and the West Bank. Trapped in Gaza, one of the most heavily populated places on Earth, PR long to visit their fellow rappers in the West Bank, while making the best of check points, economic despair and military attacks. From internal checkpoints and Separation Walls to gender norms and generational differences, this is the story of young people crossing the borders that separate them. Slingshot Hip Hop is a reflection of the rappers themselves, an inspiring union between the Palestinian struggle and this Black American art form gone global.
Jackie Reem Salloum is a New York based artist and filmmaker. Drawing on her Palestinian and Syrian roots, her pop-infused work focuses on challenging the stereotypes of Arabs in the media. She has directed several shorts exploring this issue, including Planet of the Arabs, which received the International Editing Award, at the 2005 CinemaTexas Film Festival and was an official selection at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. After receiving her MFA from New York University, Salloum began directing her first feature length documentary Slingshot Hip Hop. Five years in the making it made its premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival-Documentary Competition. Salloum’s work is also the basis of a youth education program on Palestine, and she frequently speaks at universities and conferences internationally.
Post-screening Discussion and Concert:Director Jackie Salloum and the Palestinian Hip-Hop group DAM will be present for a post-screening discussion. DAM will also give a much-anticipated performance on the fringe of the festival on Saturday October 18 at the Cedar Cultural Ceter. For reservations, call 612 338 2674, or visit www.thecedar.org