Arab Film Festival Australia 2013

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June 22, 2013

ARAB STORIES OF LOVE AND WAR COME TO AUSTRALIAN SCREENS

The 10th Arab Film Festival Australia will share the stories and culture of the Arab world with the Australian audience with an impressive program of six feature films and five short films from 10 countries. The festival will run from 27 June to 14 July 2013, opening in Sydney then followed by a tour to Canberra and Melbourne.

The Arab Film Festival Australia reveals the fascinating resurgence of Arab filmmaking and storytelling in the 21st Century, providing an international platform for filmmakers to share incredible Arab experiences and address misrepresentations of Arab peoples and cultures by creating critical spaces via engaging narratives. With Arabic language as the second-most spoken language in NSW, this event is a cultural powerhouse full of amazing stories and cross-cultural experiences.

The 2013 festival features a powerful line-up of films created within the last few years by Arab filmmakers from all over the world responding to global events and attitudes. Festival Co-director Fadia Abboud says, “The Arab world has been rocked by change and this is what is inspiring and fuelling the new stories we will be seeing on the big screen.”

The festival opening night will feature the Australian premiere of the Egyptian film, AFTER THE BATTLE by renowned director, Yousry Nasrallah. This exploration of the aftermath of the Battle of the Camels in 2011 in which the Egyptian government carried out attacks on protesters reacting to the announcement that Mubarak would not be leaving Egypt. The film follows the storylines of three characters in different class situations, and Nasrallah’s work often deals with leftism, fundamentalism and ex-patriation. This film explores some controversial and dark ideas within its stunning, poetic style.

The Festival is also privileged to host SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, a moving documentary that tells the war stories of a Lebanese militia and a mother longing for her missing son. It explores the amnesia of the Lebanese civil war through the lens of a subjective documentary style, bringing a sense of spontaneity, emotion, humanity and intimacy to this difficult and confronting topic. It is intended to disturb audiences by calling to their attention the destructive cycles of violence that Lebanon’s recurring civil conflict has wrought upon its population.

SANCTITY is a rare Saudi Arabian film, which has already toured to the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2013, and was awarded the Development Award at Doha Tribeca Film Festival in November 2012. It tells the heart-wrenching story of Areej, a pregnant Saudi widow, who will endure anything to protect her unborn child. The film’s strange stillness is the work of Ahd, who also appears as the mother character in WADJDA, the first feature-length film ever made by a female Saudi director.

The festival also includes a free forum discussing Arab male masculinity on screen. Festival Co-director Mouna Zaylah agrees that gender politics are a driving force in Arab cinema. “The cultural landscape in the Arab world is changing for societies and also for individuals – Arab women are standing up and being heard while the Arab man is questioning everything he ever believed,” she says. The free forum will address this topic with special guests on 30 June at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta.

The Arab Film Festival Australia will launch at the Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, before touring to Melbourne and Canberra.

Arab Film Festival Competition - Win a double pass


For further information visit:www.arabfilmfestival.com.au.

For images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cardinalspin/collections/72157633558464421/

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Amber Forrest-Bisley: amber@cardinalspin.com.au P: +61 2 8065 7363, M: +61 405 363 817

Katie Eastment: katie@cardinalspin.com.au P: +61 2 8065 7363


SYDNEY

Where: Riverside Theatres - Corner Church and Market Streets, Parramatta

When:  27 June - 30 June 2013

For Tickets: www.riversideparramatta.com.au or 02 8839 3399

Cost:     Opening Night $30* (includes film + sweets + party)

                Session tickets $20/$15* (excludes opening night)

                Marathon Package $80 / $60*

SCREENINGS:

Thurs 27 Jun 8pm After the Battle + OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Fri 28 Jun 8pm Sleepless Nights + Ghosts of Deir Yassine
Sat 29 Jun 5pm In My Mother’s Arms + Baghdad Messi
  8pm A World Not Ours + Abu Nawas Kingdom
Sun 30 Jun
2pm Performing Masculinity – Arab Men in Film (Forum)
  5pm The Repentant + Sanctity
  8pm Rough Hands + This is London

 

CANBERRA

Where: Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia - McCoy Circuit, Acton, ACT

When: 4 – 7 July 2013

For Tickets:  www.nfsa.gov.au or 02 6248 2000

Cost: Ticket prices will range from $11, $9, or $80 for 10 tickets Max Pass

SCREENINGS:

Thurs 4 July 7pm After the Battle
Fri 5 July 7pm A World Not Ours
Sat 6 July 4.30pm In My Mother’s Arms + Baghdad Messi
  7.30pm The Repentant + Sanctity
Sun 7 July 2pm Sleepless Nights
  4.30pm Rough Hands + This is London
     


MELBOURNE

Where: Cinema Nova - 380 Lygon Street, Carlton

When: 12 - 14- July 2012

For Tickets: 03 9347 5331 or www.cinemanova.com.au

Cost: Ticket prices will range from $18 to $16

SCREENINGS:

Fri 12 Jul 6.45pm After the Battle
Sat 13 Jul 6.45pm
The Repentant + Sanctity
Sun 14 Jul 2.45pm Rough Hands + Baghdad Messi


EDITORS NOTES

Fadia Abboud, Arab Film Festival Co-Director

Fadia Abboud is a filmmaker and cultural producer, combining community cultural development practices and digital media. Most recently she wrote and directed “I Luv U But…” a web-based series that has recently been nominated at the Beirut Social Media Awards in the most Engaging Youtube Channel category.  

Previous works includes “I Remember 1948”, a documentary that was screened on SBS in 2008 and two short dramas, “In the Ladies Lounge”, and “Big Trouble, Little Fish”. Abboud represents the Arab Film Festival Australia by attending the Dubai International Film Festival each year and participating in industry networking events.

Abboud has worked on a range of screen-based initiatives at Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) for over nine years. She has been Co-Director of Arab Film Festival Australia since 2007.

 

Mouna Zaylah, Arab Film Festival Co-Director

Mouna Zaylah is a project manager and cultural producer. She has worked on a range of projects producing theatre, film, music, performance and cultural events for artists, communities and organizations for over 18 years.

She has worked for several arts, community and cultural organisations including Urban Theatre Projects, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, South West Youth Services.

Zaylah has worked at Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) for over 12 years in various capacities and is currently the Manager of CCD and Artistic Programs. She is also the Co-Director of Arab Film Festival Australia (2007-current).


FEATURES

AFTER THE BATTLE


After The BattleDirector:
Yousry Nasrallah
Country: Egypt
Category: Feature

Screening Times:

Sydney: Thursday 27 June, 8pm
Melbourne: Friday 12 July, 6.45pm
Canberra: Thursday 4 July, 7pm 

Of Interest:

  • Tackles the aftermath of the Arab Spring
  • After effects of one incident in particular – The Battle of the Camels
  • Looks at the day to day struggle of people from the working class after the so-called Revolution.
  • Set in the highly charged political atmosphere of Cairo
  • In Competition at 2012 Cannes Film Festival

Cast: Meena Chalaby, Bassem Samra, Nahed El Sebai, Salah Abdallah, Phaedra

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbUwrxJ7LcA

Film Synopsis:

Set in the highly charged political atmosphere of today’s Cairo, a tale of a young middle-class woman activist and her reckless entanglement with a lower-class horsemen who’s been struggling to make a living in the tourist trade around the pyramids. Over the next few months, the pair develop an intense friendship born partly of romantic attraction but mostly out of a fascination with each other’s way of life and view of the world. ‘After the Battle’ mixes a main thrust of densely-packed drama with news footage, sometimes segueing from one to another with the intention of seamlessness.

Info: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/after-the-battle-cannes-review-325895

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2368599/


SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

Sleepless NightsDirector:
Eliane Raheb
Country: Lebanon
Category: Feature

Screening Times:

Sydney: Friday 28 June, 8pm
Melbourne: N/A
Canberra: Sunday 7 July, 2pm

Of Interest:

  • Creative documentary about the effects of the Lebanese civil war
  • Victim faces her oppressor – is there forgiveness?
  • Featured at the Dubai International Film Festival
  • Winner of Cinema in Motion Award at San Sebastian Film Festival

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubmrYenD9Gg

Film Synopsis:

An emotional documentary which focuses on two powerful characters, Assaad Shaftair and Maryam Saiidi. Shaftair is an ex-high ranking Lebanese official responsible for a multitude of deaths, and Saiidi is a mother who wants answers about her 15-year-old son who went missing during the war. When the two meet face to face, questions are raised about war wounds and whether redemption and forgiveness are ever possible.

Info: http://variety.com/2012/film/reviews/sleepless-nights-1117948928/
 

THE REPENTANT

The RepentantDirector: Merzak Allouache
Country: Algeria
Category:  Feature

Screening Times:

Sydney: Sunday 30 June, 5pm
Melbourne: Saturday 13 July, 6.45pm
Canberra: Saturday 6 July, 7.30pm

Of Interest:

  • Is it possible for a ‘terrorist’ to be good?
  • In the late 1990s when  Algerian government attempted to end years of terrorism by offering jihadists amnesty
  • Participated in the Director’s Fortnight section at 2012 Cannes Film Festival
  • Best Narrative Film – Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2012
  • FIPRESCI Award for Best Asian Film at 17th International Film Festival of Kerala

Cast: Nabil Asli, Adila Bendimerad, Khaled Benaissa

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T01vMisNmCI

Film Synopsis:

Set during the ‘black decade’ of the late 1990s. The Repentant follows Rashid, a Jihadist who leaves the mountains to surrender his weapon on the promise of a government amnesty. But the wounds of war never heal, whether it's the man that accuses Rachid of murdering his family or for the estranged couple whose daughter was murdered by Islamists

Info: http://variety.com/2012/film/reviews/the-repentant-1117947582/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Repentant

 

IN MY MOTHER'S ARMS

In My Mother's ArmsDirectors: Atia Al Daradji & Mohamed Al-Daradji
Country: Iraq
Category: Feature
Directors: Atia Al Daradji & Mohamed Al-Daradji

Screening Times:

Sydney: Saturday 29 June, 5pm
Melbourne: N/A
Canberra: Saturday 6 July, 4.30pm

Of Interest:

  • Iraqi story about the aftermath of war – the orphans – where do they go, who cares?
  • Unicef statistics indicate Iraq’s most recent war has created some 800,000 orphans, but the country lacks child protection laws.
  • Winner Best Documentary Asia Pacific Screen Awards
  • Variety’s Middle Eastern Filmmaker of Year 2010 – Mohamed Al-Daradji
  • San Sebastian – Cinema in Motion 6 – 3 Post Production Awards
  • Official Selection Toronto IFF 2011
  • Official Selection IDFA IFF – Panorama 2011
  • Official Selection Abu Dhabi IFF 2011
  • Official Competition CPH Dox IFF 2011
  • Official Selection Seville IFF 2011

Cast: Husham Al Thabe, Saif Slaam, Mohamed Wael

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT3eseQ9-Qg&feature=player_embedded

Film Synopsis:

A heart wrenching documentary which follows Husham, who works tirelessly to help the forgotten children whose parents have been killed or kidnapped. Husham brings them to the two-room safe dwelling he runs in the city’s most dangerous district, Al-Sadr City. But when the landlord gives him and the boys just two weeks to vacate, a desperate search ensues as the only sanctuary these children have ever known is about to be lost.

Info: http://variety.com/2011/film/reviews/in-my-mother-s-arms-1117946186/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/in-my-mother-arms-film-review-377565

 

A WORLD NOT OURS

A World Not OursDirector: Mahdi Fleifel
Country: Palestine / Lebanon
Category: Feature

Screening Times:

Sydney: Saturday 29 June, 8pm
Melbourne: Sunday 14 July, 2.45pm
Canberra: Friday 5 July, 7pm

Of Interest:

  • Won the Peace Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival 2013
  • Director Fleifel spent his formative years in the Ain el- Helweh refugee camp in the 1980s before his family settled in Denmark.

Cast: Mahdi Fleifel (voice)

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDIyM8XTWUo

Film Synopsis:

An estimated 300,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon in appalling social and economic conditions. Danish director Fleifel presents the life of three generations in Ain al- Hilweh, the Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon where he grew up. More than 70,000 people have lived there for over 60 years in one square kilometre. Filmed over more than 20 years by multiple generations of the same family, this film is more than just a family portrait; it is an attempt to record what is being forgotten.

Info:http://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2013/02_programm_2013/02_Filmdatenblatt_2013_20131259.php

ROUGH HANDS

Rough HandsDirector:
Mohamed Asli
Country: Morocco
Category: Feature

Screening Times:

Sydney: Sunday 30 June, 8pm
Melbourne: N/A
Canberra: Sunday 7 July, 4.30pm

Of Interest:

  • Mohamed Asli’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut In Casablanca Angels Don’t Fly.
  • That film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cinemanila Film Festival in 2005.

Cast: Mohamed Bastaoui, Abdessamad Miftahakhair, Amina Rachid, Houda Rihani

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbI0JvKJ-6o

Film Synopsis:

A story of Mustapha, a working class-hairdresser in Casablanca trying to beat the system in devious ways in order to support himself and his mother. Mustapha helps his neighbour, Zakia, get a visa to join her fiancé in Spain. But Mustapha has long fallen in love with Zakia and seeks to win her over with a letter, even though he is illiterate. Rough Hands is not just a romance but a story of the pursuit of mundane aspirations, such as the basic need to secure employment.

Info: http://mubi.com/films/rough-hands


FEATURES

SANCTITY


SanctityDirect
or:
Ahd
Country: Saudi Arabia
Category: Short

Screening Times:

Sydney: Sunday 30 June, 5pm
Melbourne: Saturday 13 July, 6.45pm
Canberra: Saturday 6 July, 7.30pm

Of Interest:

  • Saudi Arabian film
  • Directed and stars Ahd who is the ‘mother’ from WADJDA – showing at Sydney Film Festival 2013
  • Second film Ahd has directed
  • Participated in Berlin International Film Festival 2013
  • Awarded the Development Award at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival

Trailer: N/A

Film Synopsis:

This bold story is about a woman defying social custom and trying to establish a friendship with a man in a community that insists on gender segregation.

Info: http://www.oddcamelfilms.com/sanctity/

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130303155197

 

GHOSTS OF DEIR YASSIN

Ghosts Of Deir YassinDirector: Firas Taybeh
Country: Palestine / Jordan
Category: Short

Screening Times:

Sydney: Friday 28 June, 8pm
Melbourne: N/A
Canberra: N/A

Of Interest:

  • Phil Monsour, who wrote the song ‘Ghosts of Deir Yassin’, is a singer songwriter of Arab descent who lives in Australia. He is a founding member of Artists Against Apartheid-Australia.
  • On April 9, 1948, around 120 Jewish fighters from two Zionist paramilitary groups (both designated ‘terrorist’ by the British colonial regime) attacked Deir Yassin, a Palestinian village of about 600 people near Jerusalem. Some 107 villagers were killed, including women and children.

Cast: Palestinian refugees

Trailer: N/A

Film Synopsis:

Shot in the Palestinian refugee camps of Jordan and Lebanon, Firas Taybeh’s video clip for ‘Ghosts of Deir Yassin’ by Phil Monsour is a statement about the Palestinian right of return and the hopes and determination of the Palestinian refugees, old and young, to return to their homeland.

Info: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/50723

 

BAGHDAD MESSI

Baghdad MessiDirector: Sahim Omar Kalifa
Country: Iraq
Category: Short

Screening Times:

Sydney: Saturday 29 June, 5pm
Melbourne: Sunday 14 July, 2.45pm
Canberra: Saturday 6 July, 4.30pm

Of Interest:

  • Nominated for the Muhr Arab Award for Best Film (Short) at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2012.
  • Director Kalifa won the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk - Special Award for Best Short Film at the Berlin Film Festival for his previous film Land of Heroes (2011).

Cast: Ali Raad Al-Zaidawy, Haydar Helo Al Lamey, Noor Al-Hoda

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucqUeJlL6HQ

Film Synopsis:

An uplifting film of 10-year-old Hamoudi is totally obsessed with football. He’s lost one leg, but that doesn’t stop him playing football, until he’s sacked from the team for letting one too many balls through. But just like the rest of the world, he and his friends are eagerly looking forward to the Champions League final FC-Barcelona vs. Manchester United and the long-awaited clash between Messi and Ronaldo. But then Hamoudi's television breaks down!

Info: http://dubaifilmfest.com/en/films/detail/baghdad-messi/22910/2012

 

ABU NAWAS KINGDOM

Abu Nawas KingdomDirector: Zahra Alsamawi
Country: Australia
Category: Short

Screening Times:

Sydney: Saturday 29 June, 8pm
Melbourne: N/A
Canberra: N/A

Of Interest:

  • Emerging Australian Arab filmmaker
  • Zahra Alsamawi came to Australia as a refugee from Iraq in her teens

Film Synopsis:

Abu Nawas St, in the centre of Baghdad, is famous for being a secret rendezvous for lovers in front of the Tigris, and for its sculptures of Shahryār and Scheherazade, the king and the storyteller. But the statues disappeared after war and were forced out, like so many other Iraqis, to live in exile. Abu Nawas Kingdom is a tale about Scheherazade as she searches for Shahryār in her new home, Australia.

 

THIS IS LONDON

This is LondonDirector: Mohammed Buali
Country: Bahrain
Category: Short

Screening Times:

Sydney: Sunday 30 June, 8pm
Melbourne: N/A
Canberra: Sunday 7 July, 4.30pm

Of Interest:

  • Short film from Bahrain
  • Third Prize winner in the Gulf Film Festival 2012

Cast: Huda SultanMohammed Jassim, Mubarak Khamis

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0D45BdkAwU

Film Synopsis:

A couple's mission to send a photograph to their son in London should be an easy task, but when the wife refuses to go to the studio, the photographer has to think of innovative ways to capture the perfect shot. Unfortunately, something keeps getting in the way.

Info:  http://gulffilmfest.com/en/films/cast/id/68484


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