Abu Dhabi to showcase cinematic travelogue through Arab world and beyond

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Come the month of May and Abu Dhabi will showcase select films from across the Arab world and beyond, a broad spectrum of critically-acclaimed contemporary Arab films around the notion of geography. Titled ‘On Arab Geographies’ the screenings and talks will be held from May 4-6.

The program is being presented for the first time in Abu Dhabi by Image Nation and Cinema Akil. The program revolves around the geographies of Arab film – it will feature films that capture contemporary narratives and stories in the region.

The program is curated by Rabih El Khoury, who is Program Manager of Talents Beirut, programmer at ALFILM the Arab Film Festival in Berlin and a member of the administrative board of the Metropolis Association.

Eight film line-up

‘On Arab Geographies’ will screen a total of eight films that include feature length and short narratives, documentaries from the UAE, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Tunisia and Lebanon among others.

“Our vision at Image Nation is to create opportunities for Arab talent to tell their stories, and provide them with the right platform to showcase, network and share their ideas with the audience,” Gehad Darwish, from Image Nation Abu Dhabi, said. According to him, it is also an opportunity for local audiences to discover the breadth and depth of Arab films and support their local filmmakers.

“We are very pleased with this collaboration with Cinema Akil and the great selection of films and narratives curated by the brilliant Rabih El Khoury,” Darwish said.

The line-up will showcase titles including Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s documentary feature ‘Zainab Hates the Snow’ and Amna Al Nowais’s short film, ‘Omnia’.

Panel discussions and Q&A sessions will also be held with filmmakers and experts that shed light on the opportunities and challenges of filmmaking in the region, in addition to discussions on the different geographies of the Arab world.

Rabih El Khoury said: “This program aims to be a travelogue throughout the Arab world and beyond. A journey that is not only shaped by mobility and movement within a set of geographical entities, but also one that is led by internal wanderings, and individual efforts to find hope.”

Butheina Kazim, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cinema Akil said: “The main objective of the program is to cater to an increasingly wide audience interested in contemporary Arab cinema and storytelling in addition to adding to the thriving cultural scene in Abu Dhabi. The program is also in line with Cinema Akil and Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s shared vision of providing a consistent platform for showcasing contemporary Arab cinema.”

The program opens on the May 4 with the award-winning Egyptian feature film ‘In The Last Days of the City’ (2016) directed by Tamer El Said.

A scene from the Egyptian feature film ‘In The Last Days of the City’ (2016) by Tamer El Said. (Supplied)
A scene from the Egyptian feature film ‘In The Last Days of the City’ (2016) by Tamer El Said. (Supplied)

“As the title suggests, ‘In the Last Days of the City’ is an elegy, a melancholic love-hate poem to Cairo and the role of filmmakers in any city in pain,” according to a review in Variety.

“The result is a city requiem rather than a city symphony, a plangent, multi-layered dirge to the sensory overload of the capital, and as such will be best appreciated by those who know the city. In the film, it’s a metropolis offering up its last hurrah…”

On Arab Geographies film program is aligned with the #SupportArabCinema campaign by Image Nation, which encourages local audiences to support Arab films and filmmakers in the region. The program is open to the public and free of charge.

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