Palestinian Film Festival in Leeds (November)

We hope you will be able to come along to some of the films that we are showing at venues around Leeds, including the Town Hall, Seven Arts in Chapel Allerton, Heart in Headingley, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds Beckett University and the Hamara Centre in Beeston.

At Heart and Hyde Park Picture House we will be selling Zaytoun food products (including olive oil and dates), Hadeel crafts and Recipes of Resistance cookery books, all of which make great Christmas presents!

Welcome to the first Leeds Palestinian Film Festival

We are proud to bring you a selection of films from and about Palestine and the Palestinian diaspora. Ranging from documentaries to dramas to our favourite – a Claymation – we hope these will illuminate the darkness of troubled times.

We are pleased to have Richard Burgon (MP for East Leeds and newly appointed Shadow Treasury Secretary) opening the festival on 15thNovember, given his longtime interest and commitment to Palestine.

Our screenings are:

The Wanted 18: Sunday 15th November 8.30 pm, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall, Headrow, LS1 3AD.

This winning mix of documentary and clay-animation offers an unexpectedly humorous account of a West Bank town’s experience of the first Intifada, a subject that doesn’t usually generate a lot of laughs in cinema. It recounts the true story of how the Palestinian neighborhood of BeitSahour near Bethlehem acquired a herd of 18 dairy cows and then had to hide them from the Israeli security forces when their existence was absurdly deemed a threat to national security.

Screened in collaboration with Leeds International Film Festival

Directors: Amer Shomali, Paul Cowan, released: 2014, running time: 75 minutes

Tickets £5 / £6

If you want to recommend this to or let a friend n Sheffield know about this film, it is also showing at the Showroom on Saturday 28thNovember.


Amreeka: Tuesday 17th November 7.30 pm, Seven Arts Centre, 31A, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, LS7 3PD

This lighthearted film chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. Told with heartfelt humor, “Amreeka” is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home.

Director and writer: Cherien Dabis, released 2009, running time: 96 minutes, cast includes Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem and Alia Shawkat

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


Two Blue Lines: Monday 23rd November, 6.30 pm, Beckett Studio, LBU Headingley CampusLS6 3QS

Shot over a period of 32 years, this documentary examines the human and political situation of Palestinian people from the years prior to the creation of Israel to the present day. By primarily featuring the narratives of Israelis whose positions run counter to their country’s official policy, Ohio-based filmmaker Tom Hayes provides a portrait of the ongoing conflict not often depicted in our mainstream media.

Director: Tom Hayes, released 2015, running time: 98 minutes

Free entry, donations welcome, free parking and a bar on campus


Film and Food Night: Friday 4th December, 6 pm onwards, HEART Centre, Bennett Street, Headingley, LS6 3HN screening Divine Intervention

The lovely folk at HEART Café will have some delicious Palestinian and middle eastern mezzes on their menu, especially laid on for the evening from 6 pm onwards.  There will also be lovely Zaytoun Palestinian products and Palestinian crafts available for sale (great for Christmas Presents).

Divine Intervention will be introduced at 7pm by Keith Withall, local film enthusiast or who has a keen interest of film by and about oppressed peoples fighting neo-colonialism.

This film (which will start at around 7.20pm) is made by Palestinian director Elia Suleimanand is a surreal black comedy.  The film records a day in the life of a Palestinian living in Nazareth, whose girlfriend lives several checkpoints away in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

One lyrical section features a beautiful sunglasses-clad Palestinian woman (played by Manal Khader) whose passing by not only distracts all eyes, but whose gaze causes Israeli military checkpoint towers to crumble. The director features prominently as the film’s silent, expressionless protagonist in an iconic and powerfully moving performance that has been compared to the work of Buster Keaton, Jim Jarmusch and Jacques Tati.

Director and writer: Elia Suleiman, released 2002, running time 92 minutes, cast include Elia Suleiman, Manal Khader and George Ibrahim.

Tickets £5 / £3.50 concessions


On the side of the road: Thursday 8th December 7 pm, Hamara Centre, Tempest Road, Beeston, LS11 6RD.

This documentary by Israeli journalist Lia Tarachansky examines the collective Israeli denial about the expulsion and displacement of Palestinians in the wake of the 1948 war for independence. Referred to by the Palestinian people as the Nakba, or “the catastrophe,” the destruction of villages resulted in generations of refugees and, as parks and new cities were built on the ruins of those villages, years of violent history were swept under the rug.  Tarachansky interviews several former soldiers who participated in the destruction,. The film refrains from dehumanizing either side, instead making the simple request that the region’s history never be forgotten.

DirectorLia Tarachansky, released 2013, running time: 82 minutes


Open Bethlehem: Tuesday 15th December, 6.30 pm, Hyde Park Picture House, 73, Brudenell Road, Hyde Park, LS6 1JD

When film-maker Leila Sansour returned to Bethlehem in 2005, she planned to make a documentary about the Palestinian city she couldn’t wait to leave as a teenager. However, her cousin Carol convinces her to stay and build upon the legacy of her father, who founded the local university in 1973. Realising that the “Separation” wall erected by the Israelis is isolating a once-thriving destination for pilgrims and tourists, Leila and Carol devise a campaign to encourage visitors to return to the birthplace of Jesus Christ and apply for passports giving them honorary citizenship.  Distilled from 700 hours of footage shot over several years and with rare archive material, the film is potent and poignant.

There will also be lovely Zaytoun products  and crafts for sale before the screening (perfect ethical Christmas Presents!).  There will also be a short update from Ghada Elkhatik …………..on life in Bethlehem.   You are welcome to leave before this or to stay if you would like.

Director:  Leila Sansour, released 2014, running time 90 minutes

Tickets £5.50 /£4.50 concessions / £6 balcony / Friends of HPPH £4

We would like to thank Leeds International Film Festival,  the Beckett Studio, Hyde Park Picture House, 7 Arts Centre and HEART for supporting the LPFF.

Organised by the Leeds Palestinian Film Festival Committee.


Doreen Massey on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour

One of the founders of Soundings journal, Doreen Massey, writes here on why we should support Jeremy Corbyn’s effort to re-orientate the Labour Party.

>> From the Lawrence and Wishart blog . . .

Guest blog by Doreen Massey, Emeritus Professor of Geography at the Open University, founding editor of Soundings and editor of After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto 

Doreen Massey discusses Jeremy Corbyn’s break from the leadership of the past and his attempt to challenge the dominant terms of debate, instead of accepting that he has to operate on the established political terrain.

She questions how, exactly, we can seize the moment and begin to subvert the dominant common sense, and how the energy and arguments of the emergent politics can filter out into, and give confidence to, wider sections of society.

Read Doreen’s blog here

PLAN C has plans for Leeds (13, 14 Nov 2015)

Plan C events coming up soon:

On Friday 13th November 7pm, there is a book launch, discussion and gig. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams discuss their new book: Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work. The discussion will be followed by the band F.A.L.C.O performing the songs of 80s futurist Oi band Red Plenty and a performance by the band War Lass.

The 1 in 12 Club, Albion St, Bradford
On Saturday 14th November 7pm another discussion with Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams about the book Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work. Following the discussion will be the social for the Plan C national congress taking place in Leeds that weekend. All invited.
LAB (Live Arts Bistro) Regent Street, LS2 Leeds.

Facebook event page:

Readers’ meeting on Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism’ 16 Nov

Leeds Taking Soundings Readers’ Meetings

Monday, November 16th (2015)

6PM in Broadcasting Place AG10 (opposite the Fenton pub).

Paul Mason’s new book, Postcapitalism, has attracted a lot of attention, and deservedly so.

From the publishers blurb: “In this groundbreaking book Mason shows how, from the ashes of the recent financial crisis, we have the chance to create a more socially just and sustainable global economy. Moving beyond capitalism, he shows, is no longer a utopian dream. This is the first time in human history in which, equipped with an understanding of what is happening around us, we can predict and shape, rather than simply react to, seismic change.”

The Leeds Taking Soundings group wants to provide an opportunity to discuss what the book is about and how relevant it is.

Postcapitalism has already attracted a lot of discussion. For this discussion we want participants to have read the lengthy piece by Paul entitled ‘The End of Capitalism Has Begun’ in The Guardian from July:

Paul is also speaking at Leeds Beckett University on Saturday, November 6th in a day event put on by the Centre for Culture and the Arts: 10:00 – 17:00 and 18:00 – 21:00 at the Rose Bowl. With Alex Nunn, Peter Knight and Nicky Marsh also speaking.


John Hollaway’s talk on Greece now on Vimeo

Professor John Hollaway recently gave a talk about the challenges Greece faces at an event organised by our friends in the Geography Department of the University of Leeds.  If you missed it, or if you want to see/hear it again, here’s the link to Vimeo for the film, made by Stuart Platt, a documentary filmmaker based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Politics of Hope on 19th Sept 2015

Compass and the ILP have organised this event and Taking Soundings is pleased to be supporting it. There’s an introductory talk from Compass’s Neal Lawson, followed by a panel discussion with Barry Winter (ILP & Taking Soundings) and Sarah Perrigo (Labour Party, left). In the afternoon Sue Goss (who wrote Open Tribe) will lead a discussion on ‘Building a progressive coalition for change’.

Venue: The Rose Bowl, Leeds Beckett University. 10.30 till 4pm. Saturday 19th September 2015.

It’s free, but you must REGISTER by 12th September.

More information here  Or on a PDF here 2015.09.19 Radical-hope-ILP-flyer

John Holloway on the challenges in Greece (7 Sept)

Leeds Taking Soundings is very pleased to be working with the School of Geography at the University of Leeds to present a talk by the distinguished radical scholar John Holloway. The public lecture is at 7pm. This poster advertises other events John is taking part in at the School of Geography.

holloway crisis and


This talk will be in Broadcasting Place (Leeds Beckett University, located opposite the Fenton  pub on Woodhouse Lane), room BPAG02 at 7 PM on Monday, September 7th 2015.

John Holloway: “Greece: Hope drowns in the Reality of a Dying World. Or does it”?

Here’s what the School of Geography have to say:

The MA in ‘Global Urban Justice’ and the ‘Cities and Social Justice’ research cluster at the School of Geography, University of Leeds are organising a workshop with John Holloway, titled “Greece: Hope drowns in the Reality of a Dying World. Or does it?”. Holloway is a Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y humanidades in the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico. He has published widely on Marxist theory, on the Zapatista movement and on the new forms of anti-capitalist struggle. His book ‘Change the World Without Taking Power’ (Pluto, London, 2002, new edition 2010) has been translated into eleven languages and has stirred an international debate. His more recent book, ‘Crack Capitalism’ (Pluto, 2010), takes the argument further by suggesting that the only way in which we can think of revolution today is as the creation, expansion, multiplication and confluence of cracks in capitalist domination. John visited the School of Geography at Leeds previously in 2011 and delivered a set of public lectures that can be watched here: .

Read an interview of John Holloway at Roar magazine, published online in September 2014:

Leeds Taking Soundings strongly recommends this talk, coming as it does at such a huge moment of crisis in Greece. We’ve booked the biggest room  in the building, we expect a lot of people will want to come.

For more details from Soundings contact Matthew Caygill at

See our blog

Please follow the Leeds Taking Soundings Facebook at

Rustin and Massey reflect on the 2015 UK election

Michael Rustin and Doreen Massey, along with the late Stuart Hall, founded the journal Soundings, from which Taking Soundings has borrowed. In ‘Post Election Blues in Britain’ (probably the first article in this Lawrence and Wishart blog), they analyse Labour’s failure.

Readers like me with an interest in psycho-politics might look at the next article in the blog, ‘Reflections on the 2015 Election’, a longer piece from Mike Rustin, in which he discusses the unconscious splits and projections in the electorate that (he and his wife Margaret argue) were a factor in the result.

Followers of Soundings will know that Rustin, Massey and Hall were editors of the Kilburn Manifesto (2014).

Followers of Taking Soundings (it’s an open house) can hear Mike Rustin speaking about Labour and the election at one of our forthcoming events in Leeds, UK, on 16th July 2015.

We Are Many

This is a brilliant new documentary about the massive global protests in 2003 that tried to stop the war on Iraq (the disastrous repercussions of which are still with us). The Hyde Park Picture House is showing it at 8PM on Wednesday June 3rd. Leeds Taking Soundings is sponsoring this and as well as the director Amir Amirani coming for some Q & A, there is going to be a panel discussion with the co-chairs of Leeds Coalition Against the War in 2003: Frances Jones and Sally Kincaid. We recommend this everyone interested in Soundings.

See The Guardian review.

Link to the Hyde Park here.