The Palestinian Film Archive was born in 1976 – and destroyed just six years later. Sarah Wood went in search of the missing artists and their work
"Last year, I came across the story of the Palestinian Film Archive. Established in 1976, this was an archive of political cinema, documenting the Palestinian people's struggle and resistance movements, as well as images of their everyday lives – homegrown film of a country and people more usually represented by western news footage. The aim of the film-makers who had established it – and in the 1970s, film-makers really did work collectively – was to make "a people's cinema". For a nation unused to film, with no infrastructure to show it, and where everyday survival seemed more vital than watching images of that survival, it was an ambitious project. But after six years, the archive was lost in the 1982 siege of Beirut."