London Comedy Film Festival 2023 (LOCO) is thrilled to announce its opening night film on 11th MayA GAZA WEEKEND by Oscar®-nominated director Basil Khalil, written by Basil Khalil and Daniel Chan and starring Loai Noufi, Stephen Mangan, Mouna Hawa, Adam Bakri, Maria Zreik and Adeeb Safadi. The opening night will take place at Hackney Picturehouse with the festival dates announced as 11-14 May 2023. 

Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at Toronto International Film Festival 2022, A GAZA WEEKEND was made in 2019 and, with uncanny foresight, focuses on the outbreak of a pandemic, known as Acute Respiratory Syndrome or ‘ARS’. Ironically, Gaza becomes the safest place to be in these circumstances, and Israelis are desperately trying to seek refuge there, including British journalist Michael (Stephen Mangan) and his Israeli girlfriend Keren (Mouna Hawa).

Director Basil Khalil said: Comedy films are becoming a rarity in cinemas these days. This is why I am excited that A GAZA WEEKEND is having its UK launch at the LOCO Film Festival to be seen within the context of a comedy event. This film was made to inform and entertain, and through LOCO we hope it will reach a discerning audience who are hungry for the collective comedy viewing experience.”

Festival Director Anna Wetherell said: “The LOCO team are thrilled to announce our opening night’s screening of A Gaza Weekend. It’s a great film, which fits perfectly within LOCO territory.  LOCO has a track record of presenting films that use humour to tackle tricky or dangerous subjects, or that help us look differently at topics we might find hard. We can’t wait to release details of further screenings at the festival in the coming days.”

Artistic Director Benedict Morrison said: “A Gaza Weekend is the perfect way to start LOCO 2023. LOCO has always believed in the democratic power of comedy, especially those satires and parodies that get us laughing anarchically. A Gaza Weekend will sit perfectly alongside some classics of post-war British film being screened later in the festival. All these films reveal how there is no topic too serious for comedy to handle.”

The full programme will be announced early April when tickets will go on sale. 

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