The inaugural Ramallah International Film Festival (RIFF)kicks off today (July 8) with a special screening of Walter Salles' TheMotorcycle Diaries.

RIFFis the first ever international film festival to be held in the PalestinianTerritories, and launches with a programme of some 70 films including MarcoBellocchio's Buongiorno, Notte, Michael Winterbottom's In This Worldand Jean-Luc Godard's Notre Musique.

Thereis also an official competition called Palestinian Silver Screen for films byyoung local film-makers.

Festival partners include The British Council, Italy'sproducers association API, Swiss Films and Europa Cinemas. Guests expected toattend include Vanessa Redgrave and former FilmFour head Paul Webster.

The festival is the brainchild of director Adam Zuabi, andwill include a screenplay writing workshop, a conference on the Palestinianaudiovisual sector and master classes.

Ali Jaafar, international media officer for the festivalsaid: "We're trying to create as pure a cultural space as possible."

The festival opens on exactly the same day as this year'sJerusalem Film Festival, something that Jaafar described as a "happycoincidence".