How Cinema for Gaza channels cinephilia into activism

More huge names from the film world – including Olivia Colman, Paul Mescal, Tessa Thompson, Spike Lee and Susan Sarandon – join the Cinema for Gaza campaign, which has raised over £90,000 so far

Article by Jamie Dunn | 08 Apr 2024
  • Annie Lennox

One of the most heartening stories from the film world this year has been the huge well of support that has gathered around the Cinema for Gaza campaign, which is auctioning off an eclectic selection of film-related prizes and experiences to help Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) amid Israel’s devastating military campaign in Gaza. 

Nearly £100,000 has been raised at time of publishing, with some of the more eye-catching auctions including a bedtime story from Tilda Swinton and a porridge-making masterclass from Josh O’Connor. As well as kooky encounters with celebrities, the auctions also contain signed memorabilia such as posters, shooting scripts and Annie Lennox’s hand-written lyrics to 80s banger Sweet Dreams, which is the most sought-after auction lot so far with the current bidding at £7,700. 

Other in-demand lots include a map of Ayo Edebiri's favourite restaurants, plus a Zoom chat where Edebiri raves about them, and a cup of tea on Zoom with Stranger Things actor Joseph Quinn. There are also lots provided by people who have been much-maligned in the press and within the film industry for their outspoken support of Gaza, like Melissa Barrera, who’s available for a chat over Zoom, and Jonathan Glazer, who’s offering up signed The Zone of Interest and Under the Skin posters.

Today, Glazer added more goodies to the pile, with a signed Under the Skin screenplay book and a triptych of framed prints from stills photographer Niall O’Brien available. Loads more items were added today: you can talk to Susan Sarandon over Zoom and get a signed Rocky Horror Picture Show t-shirt, or you can bid on a signed Aftersun poster from Paul Mescal. Tessa Thompson is offering to have a beer over Zoom and is throwing in her signed Sorry to Bother You costume and memorabilia from The Marvels. Nish Kumar is offering a joke-telling masterclass over Zoom. Spike Lee has offered a signed Malcolm X poster, or you can get a personalised video message from ‘Official National Treasure’ Olivia Coleman. 

In a statement, Cinema For Gaza organisers Hanna Flint, Julia Jackman, Leila Latif, Sophie Monks Kaufman and Helen Simmons, said: “The International Court of Justice indicated in January that there is a plausible risk of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. As the international community fails to bring the violence to an end, a pressing question persists: Where is the red line, and how many more civilians will be killed before world leaders take decisive action to enforce an immediate and permanent ceasefire?

“As we enter the sixth month of Israel’s military siege of Gaza, it has never been more vital to raise funds for the urgent humanitarian work conducted by Medical Aid for Palestinians. Their efforts are not only essential but lifesaving, as Israel’s bombardment has obliterated Gaza’s healthcare infrastructure.

“We believe that art and politics are inextricably linked and are called to act in word and deed to help those subjected to unspeakable horrors across the occupied Palestinian territory. Cinema For Gaza is a passionate, inclusive fundraising space powered by the generosity of people from all corners of the film industry who will not stand idly by while Palestinians are dehumanised and attacked with impunity."

The full list of available lots can be found at If you can afford to bid, or make a donation to support MAP, please do so.