Two flicks feature Moroccan, Egyptian skaters at the 5th Toronto Arab Film Festival

Ahram Online , Saturday 22 Jun 2024

The 5th edition of the Toronto Arab Film Festival (TAFF) - 20-30 June - opened on Thursday with two films looking into the world of skaters: a Moroccan feature-length documentary film Better, and a short First Sky.


The multi-talented Moroccan filmmaker Kamal Ourahou wrote, produced and directed Better.

In the synopsis for Better, Ourahou writes: "Between 2009 and 2011, I filmed and edited Nassim Lachhab's very first skateboarding videos in Rabat, Morocco. In 2020, after having lived in France and Spain, Nassim became the first Moroccan and African professional skater in history. Ever since then, I kept wondering: What had it been like for Nassim to rise to the forefront of the international skate scene, all the while wrestling with the challenges of immigration? In what way did his groundbreaking trajectory resonate with the current state of Morocco's skate scene?"

Czech-Syrian filmmaker Lena Naassana directed First Sky.

The film takes us to the life of "a young skater from Alexandria who receives a Super 8 camera from his older brother who has recently emigrated. Over the course of a long summer by the sea, he begins to use the camera in the hopes of reconnecting with his brother. Meanwhile, he finds himself compelled to assert his relationship to the skate community," reads the synopsis.

Lena Naassana was born in 1992 in New York City to a multi-cultural and multi-lingual family of mixed Czech-Syrian descent.

She lived between Cairo, Prague and London.

Considering Cairo her home, she established The Laboratory, a darkroom and analogue photography platform, Kino Cairo.

The 5th edition of the Toronto Arab Film Festival includes seven feature films and numerous shorts from all across the Arab region.

It also includes several films screened online.

Egypt will be represented with The Tedious Tour of M (Gawlet Mem El-Momela), a film written, directed, and co-produced by Hend Bakr.

The Tedious Tour of M follows filmmaker Hend Bakr as she breaks through Mohamed Hafez Ragab’s — one of the most renowned writers in the modern history of Egyptian literature — solitude.

Other feature-length films screened in person during the TAFF include Goodbye Julia (Sudan), À toi Jeddi (Libya, Tunisia, Canada), Mandoob (Saudi Arabia), Valley of Exile (Lebanon, Canada), Six Feet Over (Algeria).

Egyptian-Danish production Light Upon Light will be screened within a virtual segment of the festival, alongside other eight features from the Arab region.

The 5th edition of the Toronto Arab Film Festival continues until 30 June 2024.

Short link: