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May 22, 2024

Pro-Palestinian Marchers Disrupt Sundance Film Festival, Call for “Free Palestine”

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Jan 22, 2024

A large pro-Palestinian protest marched down Main Street in Park City, Utah on January 21st, bringing the 2024 Sundance Film Festival to a halt. Protestors called for freedom for Palestine and an end to violence, with chants of “Free, free Palestine!” and “Let Gaza live!”. The march drew polarizing responses, with some festival attendees joining while others voiced criticisms.

March Led by Actresses Barrera and Moore

The pro-Palestinian demonstration was led by actresses Melissa Barrera and Indya Moore, who passionately delivered speeches calling for peace. Barrera, star of the recent horror hit Scream, told the crowd “we need to promote love, not fear” while Moore said all human beings deserve safety and community.

Other Hollywood figures spotted at the Palestinian solidarity rally included Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira, Andrew Garfield and Rebel Wilson, though they did not give speeches.

Hundreds of Demonstrators March Down Main Street

An estimated 500-1000 protestors flooded Park City’s Main Street during the festival’s busiest hours. The sudden swarm brought the street to a standstill, forcing Sundance organizers to temporarily suspend festival operations on lower Main.

Eyewitnesses described protestors wearing keffiyehs, waving Palestinian flags and holding signs with messages including “Let Gaza Live” and “End Apartheid Now”. The vibrant demonstration was mostly peaceful, though some marchers got into heated arguments with bystanders.

Pro-Palestinian Marchers at Sundance Film Festival
Pro-Palestinian marchers fill Park City’s Main Street (Yahoo News)

Polarizing Reactions from Attendees

Festival attendees and Park City locals had mixed reactions to the sudden pro-Palestinian rally. Some cheered on the march, while others yelled criticisms like “Go back home!” and “You’re spreading hatred!”.

Amin Shehadeh, a Palestinian-American attendee, praised the brave protestors and joined in the rally: “As a Palestinian who faces so much oppression and violence from Israel, I’m overjoyed to see Hollywood stars using their platform to support human rights.”

However, some Jewish attendees felt uncomfortable with the blunt messaging. Eli Sherman noted “I support Palestinian rights, but messaging like ‘End Israeli apartheid’ feels insensitive when there’s violence on both sides. I wish the march could have had a more nuanced discussion.”

March Coincides with Israeli Film Panel

In an odd coincidence, the pro-Palestinian rally took place at the same time as a Sundance panel discussion called “Israeli Voices: What it Means to be Represented on the Global Screen”. The sudden protest outside led to some audience members leaving the discussion early.

Some saw the timing as a purposeful attempt to disrupt the Israeli-focused event. But organizers of the march denied this, calling it an “unfortunate overlap.”

The panel itself featured Israeli director Guy Nattiv and actress Shira Haas of Unorthodox fame. It covered topics like how American media depicts Israelis versus how they see themselves.

What Next After the Rally?

While the Palestinian rally itself remained relatively peaceful, Park City Police say they plan to increase security measures around Sundance venues in case of potential escalations.

Hollywood activists like Barrera and Moore say they want to build on the momentum from this successful demonstration. In her speech, Moore announced plans for a new campaign called “Hollywood for Palestine” to advocate for more positive on-screen representation of Palestinians.

It remains to be seen whether the disruption will impact Sundance’s image or relationship with filmmakers and attendees. But this rally has drawn global attention to the Palestinian cause, ensuring the conversation continues at Hollywood’s highest levels.

Overall the Pro-Palestinian rally delivered a vibrant show of solidarity for the people of Palestine. But it also exposed lingering political tensions that the entertainment world continues grappling with.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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