Aiming at bringing Islamic culture closer to Bulgarian audiences, Sofia MENAR Film Festival presents "the best of Middle East and North Africa cinema productions, including feature films, documentaries and short projects," according to the festival's website.
The festival's sixth edition kicked off 15 January and will continue throughout 2 February 2014. This year MENAR screens productions from the Arab countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and the UAE, along with films from Europe and the US linked to the region.
A number of movies by Egyptian filmmakers made it to this year's festival programme, including: Slipping: Skate's Impact on Egypt (US/EGYPT), a movie written and directed by Brett Wiese Saunders with Khaled Abol Naga in one of the leading roles; a short joint production movie entitled Though I Know the River Is Dry (Qatar/Egypt/Palestine/UK) written and directed by Omar Robert Hamilton; the short film Sirocco (Egypt/US), written and directed by Hisham Bizri, as well as the Egyptian documentary A Night at Tahrir Square, written and directed by Amira Mashhour.
On their website, the festival organisers explain that MENAR — an acronym for MENA Region (Middle East and North Africa region) also — can be pronounced manar, which "in Arabic language means lighthouse, light tower, guiding light" and entered into Bulgarian language, by means of Ottoman Turkish, as minare, meaning "the tower, which illuminates the path."