The festival, which opened on 11 March, showcases nine feature films and 12 short films from across the Arab world in-person and online until 4 April 2022. Feature films are screened at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, while shorts are presented on the SparqFest Platform.
Egypt is represented by one feature film, Manal Khaled's 'Trapped', and one short, Sameh Alaa's ‘I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face’.
Written by Rasha Azab, Trapped (2021) focuses on seven women who are trapped in enclosed, stifling spaces.
"The streets are erupting; homes, shops and alleyways lie anxiously in wait. Communications are shut down, answers offered only through TV screens. Our characters attempt to escape their current confines, perhaps desperately, perhaps half-heartedly. In the end, they are all forced to adapt, caught up in their own individual, extraordinary battles," reads the film's brief.
According to the festival's info, Trapped is "the first Egyptian film to be selected at the South By Southwest Festival, Austin, Texas in 10 years, where it had its world premiere last week."
I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face (2020) focuses on a young man, Adam, who embarks on a tough journey to reunite with his lover after 82 days of separation. The film was co-written by director Sameh Alaa and Mohamed Fawzy.
The film had major success at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Palme d’Or, followed by Best Arab Short Film at the Gouna Film Festival (2020), Best Short Film at the Moscow International Film Festival (2020), and the Best Cinematography award at Tacoma Film Festival (2020). The film was also nominated to over 20 other awards.
"The San Diego Arab Film Festival (SDAFF) is a project of KARAMA, a local non-profit that promotes understanding of the issues of the Arab and Islamic world and of the Palestinian issue in particular. In 2012, its inaugural year, the Festival screened three feature films and five short films from six countries. The Festival has grown steadily, and in 2019 it held 10 screenings," reads the festival's website.