Sheila Whitaker was a member of the Board of PalFest from it’s inception in 2008 until her death in 2013. She had a lifelong dedication to Palestine, working as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement before joining the team that put together the very first PalFest. A film industry veteran, she was Head of the National Film Archive collection of stills, posters and original designs, Head of Programming at the National Film Theatre, Director of the London Film Festival and Director of International Programming with the Dubai Film Festival. She wrote extensively in film journals, The Guardian, The Observer and Times Higher Educational Supplement. She co-edited Life and art: the new Iranian cinema (BFI 1999) and An Argentine Passion: the films of Maria Luisa Bemberg (Verso 2000). She is Advisory Editor to I.B.Tauris for film publications, was Founder Editor of Writing Women, a journal of women’s writing, and curated two programmes of Palestinian cinema at the ICA. She was a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters (D.Litt) by the University of Newcastle and an Honorary Doctorate of Law by the University of Warwick.

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