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Arab Film Festival – Australia 2011
Revolution, Romance, Realities

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ABOUT AFF (Arab Film Festival)
The Arab Film Festival has been around since 2001, and is now visits 5 Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane.

We aim to showcase stories from diverse Arabic speaking cultures to all Australian audiences that reflect the complexity and diversity of Arab experiences. We aim to address the (mis)representations of Arab culture through film by providing critical spaces and giving exposure to alternative representations of Arab culture, Arab commentary and self-representation.

Dates du Festival / Festival Dates

Sydney
30 Juin – 03 Juillet | Riverside Theatres Parramatta
30 June – 3 July | Riverside Theatres Parramatta

Melbourne
08 – 10 Juillet | Cinema Nova Carlton
8 – 10 July | Cinema Nova Carlton

Canberra
14 – 17 Juillet | National Film and Sound Archive
14 – 17 July | National Film and Sound Archive

Adelaide
23 – 24 Juillet | Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas
23 – 24 July | Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas

Brisbane
30 – 31 Juillet | Dendy Portside
30 – 31 July | Dendy Portside


Films


The Cry of an Ant
Country: Egypt
The first feature film to address the Egyptian Revolution of January 2011. The film reveals the struggle of daily life in Egypt, through the eyes of Gouda Al Masri. Gouda loves his country, but fuelled by unemployment, humiliation from the authorities and police corruption, he decides to fight back

Stray Bullet
Country: Lebanon
It’s the end of summer 1976, in the northern suburbs of Beirut, and Noha is getting married. It’s her last chance before she becomes an old maid like her elder sister. But 15 days before the wedding, Noha changes her mind.

Majid
Country: Morocco
An orphan boy sells books on the streets of Mohammedia, and longs to see a photo of his parents; a desire that launches him on dangerous adventure.

Cairo Exit
Country: Egypt
A Coptic girl with a Muslim lover falls pregnant. She is torn between losing him and losing her family. Can love transcend any social boundary?

The Circle
Country: United Arab Emirates

Two criminals meet at a pivotal moment in their lives and begin to see the world from a new perspective.

This is My Picture When I was Dead
Country: Palestine, Netherlands
Four-year-old Bashi is killed alongside his father, a top PLO lieutenant in 1983. But what if he had lived?

Grandma, A Thousand Times
Country: Lebanon
A poetic documentary about a feisty Beiruti grandmother, concocted by her grandson, to commemorate her larger-than-life character.

Kingdom of Women: Ein el Hilweh
Country: Lebanon
Weaving between past and present, animation and daily life, the documentary focuses on seven women in Ein el Hilweh refugee camp and how they helped their community survive.

Son of Babylon
Country: Iraq, Kurdistan
Two weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein, a 12-year-old boy begrudgingly follows in the shadow of his grandmother on a journey that will determine their lives forever.

I Come from a Beautiful Place
Country: Lebanon
The moving personal stories of five refugees in Lebanon and what brought them to this place in life.

Habibti
Country: United Kingdom
Iman, a conservative woman, pays a surprise visit to her estranged daughter in London and is shocked to find her living with a boyfriend, Marlon.

Mary
Country: Australia
When a new neighbour moves in next door, Samantha’s curiosity is aroused sending her on a mission of espionage.

Show & Tell
Country: Australia
A beautiful meditation on memory and history, Show and Tell is a collection of intimate portraits using personal objects to unlock memories and stories.

Mish Mush
Country: Syria, Canada
Ahmed, a determined young Syrian poet, detests his life in Damascus and the constraints of his traditional society.

The Rodba
Country: France
Matteo, a young man of Italian origin, has come to ask Nina to marry him. Her family comes from the Maghreb, and he’s hoping to pop the question the way her family expects it to be done with the traditional rodba.

Into the Belly of the Whale
Country: Palestine, Jordan
Younis decides to make his last tunnel run between Gaza and Egypt to break the Israeli siege, but things take a turn for the worst.

Garagouz
Country: Algeria
Mokhtar is a puppeteer who travels the Algerian countryside with his son in his beat-up van visiting scattered schools.

Gaza Shield
Country: Lebanon, USA
Lebanese activist artists take their protest online, creating a video game.

Once
Country: United Arab Emirates
A young Emirati woman embarks on a secret ‘taboo’ date with a young man she has never met.

Sabeel
Country: United Arab Emirates
Two young boys must struggle to earn enough to buy medicine for their sick grandmother.

A Tuesday
Country: Lebanon
One sunny Tuesday morning in Beirut, an elderly lady walks out of an elegant boutique, wearing an expensive black dress. There is just one problem – she has not paid for it.

We Will Not Die
Country: Algeria, France
Kaboul visits his lover Houria after a trip to Afghanistan, bringing a bottle of wine. Trouble is, Houria doesn’t have a corkscrew.


AFF 2011
The national program for the 2011 Arab Film Festival has been launched with a selection of films that take the pulse of the Arab world in a time of incredible change. Presenting twenty-two front-line stories from Morocco to Iraq and beyond, this year’s program is a round-up of the best films coming out during this Arab Spring.

Showcasing the fascinating cultural shifts reshaping our world, many of these films are hot out of the Middle East and north Africa and others have been presented at major recent festivals including Cannes, Dubai, Berlin and Sundance.

« Because of the extraordinary number of films emerging out of the Arab Spring, we have been unable to finalise this year’s program until now. Our program aims to not only take our audience into the hearts and homes of these people as they are today, it also aims to generate public debate and encourage further understanding between Arab and non-Arab audiences, » said festival co-director Mouna Zaylah.

Opening night on 30 June takes us straight to the barricades with Sarkhat Namla (The Cry of an Ant), the first feature film to address the Egyptian Revolution this year. Filmed on the ground during the protests in Tahrir Square, director Sameh Abdelaziz moved quickly to capture the historic events as they unfolded simultaneously with his story of one man’s fight for civil justice. Audiences can then meet the director at the festival opening.

« We’re mixing it up with a collection of shorts, documentaries and features from across the international landscape including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, France, Canada, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, USA, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and of course, Australia, » said festival co-director Fadia Abboud.

Another highlight of the festival is Stray Bullet, where we see Lebanese actress Nadine Labaki struggle with marriage compromises in her first role since the internationally acclaimed Caramel. Into the Belly of the Whale is also sure to capture the imaginations of audiences as we follow a man trapped in the perilous supply tunnels under the border zone between Israel and Egypt.

Local filmmakers Fatima Mawas and Haidor Noor will introduce their films Mary, a story of neighbourly espionage in Western Sydney, and Show and Tell, which examines the link between object and memory of recently arrived refugees in Sydney.

The festival concludes with the multi-award winning road movie Son of Babylon, set two weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein, a story of a 12-year-old boy who begrudgingly follows his grandmother on a quest through a shattered Iraq to find his father.

« These films are going to make you laugh and cry, and they will surely take you on a journey, » said festival co-director Fadia Abboud. « Our program allows audiences to celebrate the strength and resilience of the Arab people and celebrate the talent of the filmmakers. »

The Arab Film Festival is managed by Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), driven by a volunteer organising committee and supported by Parramatta City Council. In 2011 the festival celebrates its 10th birthday, having brought Arab cinema to an audience exceeding 15,000 throughout Australia.

The festival runs from Thursday 30 June to Sunday 3 July. After Parramatta, the festival hits Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane in July.

SYDNEY 30 June – 3 July Riverside Theatres Parramatta

MELBOURNE 8-10 July Cinema Nova, Carlton

CANBERRA 14-17 July National Film and Sound Archive

ADELAIDE 23-24 July Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas

BRISBANE 30-31 July Dendy Cinemas Portside

TICKET PRICES start from each – please go to the Tickets and Venue section for more information.


AFF Team

FESTIVAL DIRECTORS

* MOUNA ZAYLAH
* FADIA ABBOUD

PUBLICIST: Nicholas Pickard
GRAPHIC DESIGN: Meiying Saw
DOCUMENTATION VIDEO ARTIST: Vanna Seang
MARKETING SUPPORT: Kristy Mayhew
COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT: Monique Choy
WEBSITE DEVELOPER and DESIGN: Maissa Alamedine – MEDIALOFT

COMMITTEE MEMBERS
* DR PAULA ABOOD
* ALISSAR GAZAL
* FIRAS NAJI
* JOANNE SAAD
* SALEH SAQQAF
* OMEIMA SUKKARIEH
* FARID FARID

English

Festival Dates

Sydney
30 June – 3 July | Riverside Theatres Parramatta

Melbourne
8 – 10 July | Cinema Nova Carlton

Canberra
14 – 17 July | National Film and Sound Archive

Adelaide
23 – 24 July | Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas

Brisbane
30 – 31 July | Dendy Portside