SAFAR Film Festival

The fourth edition of SAFAR is taking place at the ICA and the Institut Francais, running from 13-18 September. The festival, curated by Joseph Fahim, included films from Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Palestine, the genres ranging from adaptations, "creative documentaries," shorts and features. The full program can be found here.  I attended the second … Continue reading SAFAR Film Festival

The Arab Archive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows

  "The Arab Archive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows,"  which took place over the past two days at John Cabot University in Rome, was advertised as  an examination of "the political economy of the Arab Image" which "reflects upon the materiality, ethics, and aesthetics of filming, distributing and archiving post-2011."  The workshop more than lived … Continue reading The Arab Archive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows

Mahragan Music

Listening to Cairokee's Keif (Fix) recently, I was reminded to look up another crowdfunded project from a couple of years ago -- this one on Mahragan music and dance.    The project was first put up on the site back in 2014, the idea being to make a documentary on the Mahragan movement, focusing on the … Continue reading Mahragan Music

Arab Films Entered for Oscars

There are films from 92 countries entered for the Foreign Film category of the Oscars. Among these are eight films from Arabic-speaking countries. Several of the films deal in various ways with the impact of the conflict in Syria. There is the documentary from Syria, “Little Gandhi,” which follows the life and death of Syrian … Continue reading Arab Films Entered for Oscars

Hisham Bustani’s The Crossing

Hisham Bustani's short story "The Crossing"  has been translated into English by Maia Tabet and appears in the current issue of Newfound.  The short story was originally published in Arabic in Bustani's The Monotonous Chaos of Existence (2010). In Newfound, it appears in both Arabic and English, as in Bustani's previous work, The Perception of Meaning, … Continue reading Hisham Bustani’s The Crossing

Focus Young Arab Choreographers Opens May 25

Focus Young Arab Choreographers is a project is supported by the Italian culture ministry and eleven different dance festivals in Italy.  The aim is to promote cultural dialogue and exchange between Arab and Italian artists and choreographers. The programme opens May 25 and runs until September 23. Six young choreographers from the Arab world will … Continue reading Focus Young Arab Choreographers Opens May 25

“On Arab Geographies”: Film Screenings in Abu Dhabi, May 4-6

 ‘On Arab Geographies’  brings together screenings of eight critically-acclaimed contemporary Arab films from across the region, as well as Q&A sessions and panel discussions on filmmaking in the region. The program runs from May 4-6. See the full schedule here. It is curated by Rabih El Khoury, who described it as a "travelogue": “This program aims to be a travelogue … Continue reading “On Arab Geographies”: Film Screenings in Abu Dhabi, May 4-6

Luxor African Film Festival

The 5th edition of Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) is scheduled to run between 17-23 March.  The festival was established to remedy the lack of attention paid to African films in Egypt, with Luxor chosen to "de-centralize cultural or artistic events always organized in Cairo and Alexandria" This year LAFF is honoring Omar Sharif, who … Continue reading Luxor African Film Festival

The Oscars and the Berlinale

With the 88th Academy Awards ceremony to take place this Sunday, Al Bawaba looks back at nine films from the region to be nominated for an Oscar, including Hany Abu Assad's Paradise Now (2005) and Omar (2013), and Rachid Bouchareb's Days of Glory (2006) and Outside the Law (2010), but also Incendies (2010), adapted from … Continue reading The Oscars and the Berlinale

Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

Re:Orient in Stockholm, which arranges cultural events focusing on the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans, is celebrating Music Freedom Day as well as International Women's Day  with their week long Revolutionary Voices program from March 2-8. The program includes documentary screenings, a couple of panels and a concert, featuring Rim Banna, Tania Saleh, Dina … Continue reading Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah

Mahmoud Sabbagh's Barakah Meets Barakah has been described as conventional in form, unconventional in setting. Surely one of the more conventional films ever to enjoy a premiere at the Berlinale's risk-embracing Forum parallel section, it's of considerable interest as a very rare cinematic export from a country where nearly all manifestations of cinema have been … Continue reading Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah

From Mathaf to Madrid

The exhibition Looking at the World Around You: Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums is being held from 9 February to 19 June 2016 at the Santander Art Gallery in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, the "first major loan exhibition in Europe of works from Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Contemporary Art in Doha."   This selection, more … Continue reading From Mathaf to Madrid

International Prize for Arabic fiction shortlist

This year, the shortlist for the IPAF (International Prize for Arabic fiction) includes "a Syrian novel about Islamic State’s occupation of Raqqa to an Egyptian dystopian thriller" among other novels that “address the tragedy of the present-day Middle East.” The Syrian novel is A Sky Close to Our House by Shahla Ujayli,  although since we … Continue reading International Prize for Arabic fiction shortlist

MENAR Film Festival

The Middle East & North Africa Region (MENAR) Film Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, kicks off on January 14 and runs through the end of the month. The focus this year is on female directors - the films to be shown include Egyptian Nadine Khan's Chaos, Disorder (2012),  Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania's The Blade of Tunis … Continue reading MENAR Film Festival

Garage – A New Venture for Arab Comics

Soha Elsirgany writes about Garage, a new venture in the world of Egyptian comics. The comic will showcase artists from around the Arab world. The brothers who started the project, Mohamed and Haitham Rafaat, also started Kawkab El-Rasameen (“Planet of Artists”) in 2014. The twins are currently working on the Cairo Comix festival, to be held on 30 … Continue reading Garage – A New Venture for Arab Comics

Alif’s Debut Album

Electronic Intifada describes Alif as "a kind of alternative Arabic supergroup." CairoScene calls them "A motley crew of the Arab world best loved underground musicians." Both agree that their debut album, Aynama-Rtama, is very, very good - as would be expected from a group comprised of Khyam Allami, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Khaled Yassine, Bashar Farran and Maurice Louca. There … Continue reading Alif’s Debut Album

She Who Tells A Story

The exhibit “She Who Tells A Story” is a photography exhibit, a smaller scale Light from the Middle East which is dedicated to the work of women artists, featuring work by twelve women photographers from Iran and the Arab world. The photographers are: Iraqi Jananne Al-Ani, Yemeni Boushra Almutawakel, Iranians Gohar Dashti, Shadi Ghadirian, Newsha Tavakolian and Shirin Neshat, Egyptians Nermine … Continue reading She Who Tells A Story

Scandinavia’s Arab Film Festival

Malmo Arab Film Festival is coming to Uppsala on May 6th and 7th before the final stop at Stockholm on the 8th and 9th. The films to be shown are: Letters from Al Yarmouk Villa 69 Excuse my French The story of this film, about a boy who transfers from private to public school in … Continue reading Scandinavia’s Arab Film Festival

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2015

The Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF), now in its 14th year, runs from June 6-14 at venues across the city. This year performers include Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, composer of alternative Arabic music, Palestinian singer, musicologist and broadcaster, Reem Kelani, and a symposium event, entitled Shaping Change: Women, Culture, and Arts. Abu Ghazaleh also has an exclusive "preview" show on Friday 17th April. … Continue reading Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2015

The Second AFAC Film Week

In its second Film Week, The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is bringing works by filmmakers from seven Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia) to Cairo. The week-long programme will run between 15 and 22 April at Zawya cinema. The films to be shown include: Return to Homs by Talal Derky … Continue reading The Second AFAC Film Week

The Wanly Brothers

Egyptian artist Seif Wanly (1906 -1979) and his brother Adham were two of the first artists to introduce modern art to the Arab world. Born in Alexandria, the brothers studied at the studio of the Italian artist Otorino Becchi. They later set up their own studio in Cairo in 1942, together with the painter Ahmad Fahmi and the … Continue reading The Wanly Brothers