19B, Far From the Nile, Big Little Women to compete at Rotterdam Arab Film Festival

Ahram Online , Saturday 2 Sep 2023

The Rotterdam Arab Film Festival, set to run from 5 to 10 September in the Netherlands, is gearing up to screen a diverse selection of 28 films hailing from various Arab countries, including Egypt.

Rotterdam Arab Film Festival


Egypt is represented by three compelling titles that stand out for their quality and the success they had at other major festivals. These films are 19B, Far From the Nile, and Big Little Women."

Ahmed Abdalla's film 19B, which will be screened in the Feature Film Competition, had its world premiere during the 44th Cairo International Film Festival (2022), where it was nominated for the Golden Pyramid award and won three other awards:  Henry Barakat Award for Best Artistic Contribution, Best Arabic Film Award, and the FIPRESCI Prize. 

The film takes place in an abandoned villa in a once-upscale neighbourhood where an old guard has lived since the 1960s in peace and solitude. This world is, however, suddenly wrecked by the appearance of an overzealous young man with ruthless ambitions, thus forcing our protagonist to face his fears, the past, and a world he no longer recognizes.

19B stars Sayed Ragab, Ahmed Khaled Saleh, Nahed El-Sebai, Fadwa Abed, Magdy Atwan, and Maher Khamis.

Far From the Nile by Egyptian-American filmmaker Sherief El-Katsha has also been screened at the 44th Cairo International Film Festival. It will compete in the Documentary Film section at the Rotterdam Festival.

The film features 12 musicians from 7 countries through which the Nile River passes who use music as a model for collaboration across borders. The film portrays how their message of unity is tested during a tour of the United States.  

These 12 musicians are the members of the group Nile Project, which includes Mohamed Abozekry, Asia Madani, Selamnesh Zemene, Michael Bazibu, Nader El-Shaer, Ibrahim Fanous, Saleeb Fawzy, Adel Mekha, Kasiva Mutua, Ahmed Omar, Dave Otieno and Steven Sogo.

Directed by Swiss-Egyptian film director Nadia Fares, Big Little Women was also screened at numerous festivals in Egypt and internationally, and like Far From the Nile, it competes in the Documentary Film section at the Rotterdam festival.

The film received the jury Special Mention in the main competition of the 7th Aswan International Women's Film Festival (AIWFF), which took place in March this year. The film also won the Euro-Mediterranean Award and Best Egyptian Film at the same festival. 

According to its synopsis, the film revolves around "three generations of women [who] rebel against patriarchal prohibitions. In this cinematic letter, Swiss-Egyptian film director Nadia Fares pays tribute to her father as she recounts 75 years of women's struggles in Egypt, her father's country, and in Switzerland, her mother's country, where she grew up. She explores the impact of patriarchal traditions in the East and the West, revealing them as mirror images."

Launched in the early 2000s, the Rotterdam Arab Film Festival is a cultural activity organized by the Stichting Arab Film Festival in cooperation with several Dutch and Arab organizations.

The objective of the festival is to support Arab cinema and Arab filmmakers and to promote better understanding among the Arab and European people.

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