GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — “Turn them off? Off?” asked an employee of the Rashad Shawa Cultural Center in Gaza City repeatedly as he talked on his cellphone. Once he received a clear answer from the director of the center, he headed to the small control room at the far end of the hall teeming with more than 1,000 attendees, who sat on chairs, lay on the floor or stood leaning against the walls. This was the moment the debate started — should the lights be turned off or not?
On May 12, the second annual Red Carpet Film Festival opened with a screening of the film “Ya Tayr El Tayer” ("The Idol"), a biopic about Gazan singer Mohammed Assaf, the winner of the TV show "Arab Idol" in 2013. It was the film's premiere in the Gaza Strip.