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About us

The Surrey Palestine Film Festival is a social impact initiative celebrating Palestinian life, art and culture. Launched in 2022, it uses film, theatre, music, poetry, art and cuisine, to tell often unheard stories about Palestinians and their homeland. We aim to broaden perspectives, deepen understanding and open hearts using thought-provoking storytelling, a peaceful form of cultural resistance and activism. 


Rima Cotran, Martyn Turner and Nasreen Pritchard all share a connection to Palestine and came together with the intention of creating an event to celebrate Palestinian film, art and culture.

This intention has been brought to life, through the amazing voluntary contribution made by this team of incredible young adults

 Volunteers Team


Shang Salah

I am a Kurdish-Iraqi media student, filmmaker, and journalist based in England. I am a huge advocate of the power of film festivals and their ability to bring people of different backgrounds together. I have been involved in organizing and helping with varying festivals, I connected with Surrey Palestine as I wanted to use my skills in the interest of amplifying the voices of my region. By managing the marketing department for Surrey Palestine Film Festival I have been able to reconnect with my Middle Eastern heritage and culture.

Web Designer

Ansh Soni

Hi! I'm a Graphic Designer based in the UK. I'm currently in my third and final year studying to earn a Degree in Graphic Design from UCA. I have experience in branding, motion graphics, web design, and even filmmaking. I was approached to design the website for this festival, and seeing everyone's passion for this project I felt it would be a great experience to help, especially since I also believed in the idea of presenting the stories from the less represented places in the world.

Web Designer

Vevina Susan

I am a student and an artist. I have earned a Diploma in Graphic Communication from NAFA in Singapore and am currently studying to earn a Degree in Graphic Communication at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. The world is filled with enough hardships, so I believe sometimes it is my generation's duty to be kind to those around us, even if it would simply brighten up their day. Every little bit makes a difference.


Ian Roberts

I’m a PhD student from Winchester researching the cultural value of small film festivals, how they can find a distinctive voice and purpose and provide a platform for marginalised voices and cultures. Cinema is a remarkable art form for allowing us to see the world through other people’s eyes and highlighting what we all have in common. This is why the Surrey Palestine Film Festival is so important. I also make no-budget short films and music videos which have failed to win awards at festivals the world over.

Graphic Designer

Dejhanea Gregory

Dejhanea Gregory 23, (she/her) born and raised in the UK with a Caribbean heritage. I am currently studying a Masters in Script and screen. I like to think of myself as a creative, I love drawing, painting, writing and reading. My expertise lie in script writing and graphic design. The Palestine film festive allows my creativity to flourish and bring the designs to life whilst learning and embracing the culture with others.

Film Procurement

Marnie Evans

Marnie Evans. 19, I'm studying Film Production at the University of Winchester. My passions revolve around Directing and forging my visions and idea's to life. Life is a means to learn. The reason I wanted to volunteer to procure the films for the Festival was to learn, what stories does Palestine have to tell? What is their culture like? and what do the voices of the people have to say through the art of Film. I've learnt a lot and spoken to many people and in the end, I hope audiences too can learn more about Palestine beyond the Media.

Core Team

Deborah Hijazi

Hi, I’m Deborah. My father is Palestinian and along with my sister Nasreen, we were brought up in Jordan where my father and his family settled after fleeing Palestine in 1948. I am proud to have been involved in a small remote way with the Surrey Palestine Film Festival and it’s purpose in bringing awareness to the Palestinian cause and celebrating the talent within. 

In the photo is me with my Baba, Teta & Jiddo.

Rima Profile BW web.jpg

Rima Schaller Cotran

My father is Palestinian. He was born in Jerusalem, was exiled in 1948, and came to study in the UK, where I was born and have spent most of my life. I have also studied. lived and worked in Palestine and the wider Middle East and deeply feel my roots in that ancient and beautiful culture. The Surrey Palestine Film Festival allows me to share the treasure of that culture more widely and open hearts and minds to perspectives that go beyond stereotypes and cliches found in mainstream media.


Martyn Turner

Martyn, over 60! I’m a retired mathematician, who grew up in the UK. My life changed forty years ago when I married a Palestinian. It was then that I realized that everything I’d been learnt at school, and from the press was biased, one-sided and often deliberately wrong. The Palestinians – despite what the press would like us to believe - are incredibly well educated, with a terrific culture, including poetry, music, theatre … and of course film. My father-in-law for example was a poet, but spent his life as a lawyer. I hope this festival helps to shine a light on the beauty in Palestine and the humour of the Palestinians, despite the oppression they have to endure on a daily basis.

Nasreen Pritchard

My Father is Palestinian, from Haifa and my Mother is Irish. My sister and I both born in Belfast, spent our formative years living in Amman, Jordan where most of my Baba’s family settled after the exodus in 1948. I am so thrilled to be part of this wonderful Team at Surrey Palestine Film Festival and very excited to share the beauty of the Palestinian culture which often gets overshadowed and side-lined

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