LOCO 2023

London Comedy Festival announces the opening night film for its 2023 edition

A Gaza Weekend starring Stephen Mangan will open this year’s LOCO festival.

Today London Comedy Film Festival 2023 (LOCO) announced its opening night film on the 11th of May – A 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, A Gaza Weekend is set in Israel as it is cut off from the rest of the world after the outbreak of a deadly virus. Gaza is the safest place now, and Israelis are desperately trying to seek refuge there, including British journalist Michael (Stephen Mangan) and his Israeli girlfriend Keren (Mouna Hawa). The couple pays a smuggler to transport them via Gaza and onto Cyprus. But they find themselves stuck in a basement in Gaza, with Hamas on their trail, and their lives in the hands of hapless Palestinian market traders Emad (Loai Nofi) and Waleed (Adam Bakri), and Waleed’s long-suffering but resourceful wife Nuhad (Maria Zreik).

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 in early April, when tickets will also go on sale.


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