The 2018 Arab Film Festival

Presented by

This year’s Arab Film Festival (AFF) focuses on marginalized communities and voices.  The theme, titled – Soapbox Studios: Marginalized voices from the Arab & Arab American Community will bring films with thematic focus on gender, sexuality, identity, social justice, activism, and community building.  AFF aims to bring the perspective of marginalized communities and voices to the forefront and give a platform to these characters, stories and artists.

Cinematic Journey Through the Arab World: Everyday Heroes

Directed by VARIOUS
Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, Approximately 120 minutes, Arabic, Kurdish, Serbian with English subtitles, PG/PG-13

DESCRIPTION: From revolting against an oppressive dictatorship to protecting one’s family, these are the everyday heroes that keep us safe and give us hope. Take a cinematic journey through Iraq, Qatar, Lebanon and more as we examine and celebrate our everyday heroes.

INCLUDED FILMS:
CARAVAN
SABEYA
SILENCE
LANGUAGE
LAST DAYS OF THE MAN OF TOMORROW
THE PRESIDENT’S VISIT

Arab Film Festival Reception

Arab Film Festival Reception: Immediately following the shorts program, please join attendees and filmmakers for a fun evening of networking, food, and dancing at the festival‘s reception. Open to the public.

Cinematic Journey Through the Arab World: Celebrating Arab Women Filmmakers

Directed by VARIOUS
Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Approximately 120 minutes, Arabic with English subtitles, PG/PG-13

DESCRIPTION: These five films pack a lot of talent into one shorts program!  Directed entirely by well-established Arab and Arab American women, and each with a strong female lead, these five shorts celebrate the talent, creativity and power of Arab filmmakers.

INCLUDED FILMS:
AYA
IN WHITE
LOLLIPOP
LIKE SALT
UNSPOKEN

Panel Discussion: New Reflections on Arab American Representation in the Media

Join AANM as we bring together talented artists, media creators and filmmakers who have taken revamping Arab and Arab American representation into their own hands to discuss the landscape of Arab and Arab American media-making. Who are we bringing to the table to represent the robust and diverse Arab American community? What successes have been made in this area? What are the new, unique challenges facing Arab American media makers today?

Preceding the panel discussion is AANM’s short film program: Cinematic Journey Through the Arab World: Celebrating Arab Women Filmmakers at 2pm.

Following the panel discussion is the screening of the documentary, Soufra, followed immediately by our community Iftar dinner.

Soufra

Directed by THOMAS A. MORGAN
Lebanon/USA/Singapore, 73 Minutes, Documentary, Arabic with English subtitles, Not Rated

DESCRIPTION: After spending her entire life in the Burj el-Barajneh refugee camp near Beirut, MARIAM SHAAR decided to change her life. Gathering together with other refugee women from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon, and with a little help from Kickstarter, she expands her modest food business into catering. Despite her status as a Palestinian—barred from better jobs in Beirut—Shaar overcomes the obstacles to make Soufra (which means a table of delicious plenty) a success and to help other women heal the deep wounds of war through inspirational food. “A stirring tale of empowerment, Soufra shows how societal change can begin with small steps.”—The New York Times.
Portland Film Festival

Beauty and the Dogs

Directed by KAOUTHER BEN HANIA
Tunisia, 100 Minutes, Drama, Arabic with English subtitles, Rated R – Content Warnings: Explicit Language, Sexual Situations (vague)

DESCRIPTION: A critical smash at Cannes this year, this is a gripping moral conundrum featuring two young Tunisians. When Mariam, a young Tunisian woman, is raped by police officers after leaving a party, she is propelled into a harrowing night in which she must fight for her rights and her dignity, even though justice lies on the side of her tormentors. Employing impressive cinematic techniques and anchored by a tour-de-force performance from newcomer MARIAM AL FERJANI, Based on a true story, Beauty and the Dogs tells an urgent, unapologetic, and important story head-on. A rare, startling film from a female Tunisian director, it’s a striking critique on a repressive society and a forcefully feminist rallying cry.
PAIRED SHORT: THE CAMPAIGN

The Nile Hilton Incident

Directed by TARIK SALEH
Egypt, 107 Minutes, Drama/Thriller, Arabic and Dinka with English subtitles, Rated R
Content Warning: Explicit Language, Sexual Situations (vague), Violence

DESCRIPTION: A political thriller based on a true story. Weeks before the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Noredin (FARES FARES), a police officer in Cairo’s corrupt system, investigates the murder of a famous club singer at the Nile Hilton Hotel. What initially seems to be a crime of passion turns into something that concerns the very power elite of Egypt. Upon realizing this, Noredin decides to break the rules in order to obtain justice, colliding not only with the system but also with himself. –Strand Releasing

Wajib

MICHIGAN PREMIERE!
Directed by ANNEMARIE JACIR
Palestine, 96 Minutes, Drama, Arabic with English subtitles, Rated PG-13
Content Warnings: Explicit Language

DESCRIPTION: After years abroad in Italy, Shadi (SALEH BAKRI) returns to his hometown of Nazareth to begrudgingly honor his “wajib” (or duty) to hand deliver invitations to his sister’s wedding with his father, Abu Shadi (MOHAMMAD BAKRI), per local Palestinian tradition. The simmering tension between the two — who are often stuck in a car, more often than not in traffic — builds, exposing the sometimes-comic chasms that exist between men who live in different worlds but share an unshakable bond. Directed by the brilliant ANNEMARIE JACIR and with the talent of Saleh and Mohammad Bakri (father and son both onscreen and off), Wajib is a powerful yet subtle look into the complexities of tradition, power and family. –Toronto International Film Festival

Where To?

Plays with A CERTAIN NASSER and BORDERS CROSSED (SHORT)
Directed by GEORGES NASSER
Lebanon, 1957, 81 Minutes, Drama/Romances, Arabic with English subtitles, Rated PG

DESCRIPTION: The first Lebanese film entered into the Cannes Film Festival (1957) and directed by the grandfather of Lebanese film, GEORGES NASSER, Where to? tells the story of a poor family living in a village in the Lebanese mountains, barely able to make ends meet. Wanting to make a better life for him and his family, the father of the family leaves for Brazil, never to be heard from again. The mother raises her two sons to the best of her ability. As the boys grow up and decide which paths in life to take, a mysterious man arrives in the village.
PAIRED SHORT: BORDERS CROSSED

A Certain Nasser

US PREMIERE!
Directed by ANTOINE WAKED and BADIH MASSAAD
Lebanon, 65 Minutes, Documentary, Arabic and French with English subtitles, Rated PG

DESCRIPTION: A Certain Nasser is an intimate portrait of pioneer Lebanese filmmaker, GEORGES NASSER, the grandfather of Lebanese Cinema who directed some of Lebanon’s biggest films before there was a film industry in the country. Nasser discusses his three biggest works with great detail and gives the audience a unique look at the struggles and triumphs of filmmaking in the 1950s and 1960s.

This Is Home

MICHIGAN PREMIERE!
Directed by ALEXANDRA SHIVA
USA/Jordan/Syria, 91 Minutes, Documentary, Arabic and English, with English subtitles, Not Rated

DESCRIPTION: Only twenty-one thousand Syrian refugees out of five million have been accepted into the United States since 20 This is Home follows four families sent to resettle in Baltimore in 20 They have just eight months to find jobs, learn English, and become self-sufficient. The clock starts right when they land. Despite good intentions, a vast cultural divide prevents the new arrivals and the Americans trying to help them from truly understanding each other. Halfway through the process, President Trump issues a travel ban on all refugees from Muslim-majority countries, and suddenly their lives, and the safety of loved ones still trapped in Syria, become all the more perilous. With much-needed empathy, filmmaker ALEXANDRA SHIVA reveals the inherent decency of a displaced community desperate for help within a country increasingly hostile to principles of inclusion and opportunity. Winner of the Audience Award – World Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival. –Sundance Film Festival

Mr. Gay Syria

MICHIGAN PREMIERE!
Directed by ALEXANDRA SHIVA
USA/Jordan/Syria, 91 Minutes, Documentary, Arabic and English, with English subtitles, Not Rated

DESCRIPTION: Only twenty-one thousand Syrian refugees out of five million have been accepted into the United States since 20 This is Home follows four families sent to resettle in Baltimore in 20 They have just eight months to find jobs, learn English, and become self-sufficient. The clock starts right when they land. Despite good intentions, a vast cultural divide prevents the new arrivals and the Americans trying to help them from truly understanding each other. Halfway through the process, President Trump issues a travel ban on all refugees from Muslim-majority countries, and suddenly their lives, and the safety of loved ones still trapped in Syria, become all the more perilous. With much-needed empathy, filmmaker ALEXANDRA SHIVA reveals the inherent decency of a displaced community desperate for help within a country increasingly hostile to principles of inclusion and opportunity. Winner of the Audience Award – World Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival. –Sundance Film Festival

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