Institut du Monde Arabe revives platform for Arab films with new festival

Ahram Online , Wednesday 27 Jun 2018

The new Arab Cinema Festival will fill a gap that Biennale des Cinéma Arabes left when it ended in 2006

Old posters from the Arab Cinema Biennale by the Institut du Monde Arabe. (Photo: IMA website/DR)

The Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris is launching the first edition of the Arab Cinema Festival on 28 June, 12 years after the last Biennale des Cinéma Arabes ended its 14-year run to be scrapped in 2006.

Biennale des Cinéma Arabes was a significant event that was often a space for Arab filmmakers to have their first international screening, disseminating an awareness of Arab cinema in France and Europe.

Through the Arab Cinema Festival, IMA will thus revive a platform for Arab films in the French capital. The festival’s chairperson is Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbas.

Around 80 films will be screened, with 13 of them in competition. Among those are two Egyptian films: Photocopy and Sculpting in Time, as well as Palestinian fim The Reports on Sarah and Salim, and two Syrian films, My Favorite Fabric and Sofia, that made it to Cannes.

The competition jury will include Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy, alongside Moroccan actor and director Faouzi Bensaïdi, and Saudi actress Fatima Al-Banawi.

A special focus on Saudi short films will celebrate the country’s recent revival of cinema after a three-decade ban on movie theatres.

The festival will also pay tribute to two Arab talents who died in 2017: pioneer of Lebanese cinema Jean Chamoun, and Algerian actor and director Mahmoud Zemmouri.

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