“You get tired of always fighting the system. You just have to exist and do your thing and hope people will see you as human”: Basil Khalil on A Gaza Weekend at London Comedy Film Festival
A Gaza Weekend is the Israel-set comedy-drama from Oscar-nominated director Basil Khalil, scheduled to open the London Comedy Film Festival at Hackney Picturehouse. Starring British star Stephen Mangan as British journalist Michael, alongside Mouna Hawa as his Israeli girlfriend, Keren, it follows the couple as they seek refuge in Gaza – which ironically becomes the safest place to be after a deadly virus breaks out – and are left in the hands of Palestinian market traders Emad (Loai Nofi) and Waleed (Adam Bakri), and his resourceful wife Nuhad (Maria Zreik).
The Upcoming spoke with the director ahead of the festival about how his idea for a film about a virus strangely foretold what would happen with Covid-19, the highs and lows of filming during the pandemic with his brilliant cast, and his desire to use comedy to tackle and open up discussion around sensitive political issues. We also discussed how it felt for the film to get such a warm reception and receive the FIPRESCI Prize at Toronto International Film Festival.
A Gaza Weekend opens the London Comedy Film Festival 2023 (LOCO), which takes place at Hackney Picturehouse from 11th to 14th May 2023. For further information, visit the festival’s website here.
Watch the trailer for A Gaza Weekend here: