When you hear that Slingshot Hip Hop is a documentary about Palestinian rap groups, you probably have the same thought I had: What, that old subject again? Why can't filmmakers come up with something original?

Just kidding. One of the joys of a film festival is seeing documentaries on unusual topics that you had never considered before, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't know Palestine had even one rap group, let alone a major hip hop movement. First-time feature filmmaker Jackie Reem Salloum (an American with Palestinian and Syrian roots) knows that our curiosity will be piqued simply by hearing the subject matter, and I'm afraid she coasts a little too far on that, actually. The movie's lack of focus suggests she was hoping the mere novelty of it all would carry it for 85 minutes.