UNT's second annual Arab Film Festival Texas features award-winning films that depict life in the Arab world
What: The second annual Arab Film Festival Texas, presented by UNT's Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute, featuring the Texas premiere of award-winning short films, feature films and documentaries from Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
When: 6:30-10 p.m. May 2 (Friday), and 1-10 p.m. on May 3 (Saturday) and May 4 (Sunday)
Where: Angelika Film Center, 5321 East Mockingbird Lane, Suite 230, Dallas
Cost: Free for students with ID, $5 for one ticket per session, $30 for full festival pass
- Opening night reception is from 6:30-8 p.m. May 2 (Friday) sponsored by Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant
- There will be a Q&A from 9:30-10 p.m. May 2 (Friday) with Isabelle Stead, producer of In My Mother's Arms, winner of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy Award for Best Documentary
- Following seven Iraqi short films from 1-2:30 p.m. May 3 (Saturday), there will be a panel discussion, titled "Children and Trauma," from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
- Nightly receptions are from 3:30-5 p.m. May 3 (Saturday) and 5-7 p.m. May 4 (Sunday) sponsored by Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant.
DENTON, Texas (UNT) – Award winning films from Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria will be featured at the second annual Arab Film Festival Texas, presented by UNT's Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute.
"This festival – the only one of its kind in Texas – offers an opportunity for our students and the community to share in the perspectives of other cultures," said film festival director Tania Khalaf, assistant professor in the Department of Radio, Television and Film. "On this side of the world the only window into Arab culture is filtered through the media. The Arab world contains so much humor and heart. Bringing that to audiences is very important to me, especially here in Texas where I have lived for almost 10 years now."
Films will be shown from 6:30-10 p.m. May 2 (Friday), and 1-10 p.m. on May 3 (Saturday) and May 4 (Sunday) at the Angelika Film Center, 5321 East Mockingbird Lane, Suite 230, Dallas. There will be an opening night reception from 6:30-8 p.m. May 2 (Friday) and nightly receptions from 3:30-5 p.m. May 3 (Saturday) and 5-7 p.m. May 5 (Sunday), all sponsored by Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant.
International film producer Isabelle Stead will be a part of a Q&A session after the Texas premiere of her film, In My Mother's Arms, on Friday night. That film won the Asia Pacific Screen Academy Award for Best Documentary.
Stead also produced six Iraqi short films, which will be screened along with a seventh short film on Saturday. The short films were made by 20 students as part of a workshop and all focus on subjects surrounding childhood and growing up in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Following the screening of those shorts, there will be an interactive panel discussion, "Children and Trauma," featuring Stead as well as other scholars.
In addition to In My Mother's Arms, the film festival features numerous award-winning feature-length films, including Return to Homs, about the innocence lost in Syria's uprising; When I Saw You, a touching story about human triumph in the face of adversity; Wadjda, the first Saudi feature film directed by a woman, which tells the story of a free-spirited girl overcoming an oppressive society; and the festival's closing film, A World Not Ours, which is an intimate and humorous portrait of a displaced Palestinian family.
The films that will be shown are attached in a file that includes synopses and more information. Below is an overview of the screenings:
- Friday, May 2, 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Texas premiere of In My Mother's Arms (Documentary), followed by Q&A with producer Isabelle Stead
- Saturday, May 3, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Screening of seven Iraqi short films. Producer Isabelle Stead will introduce the short films, which include Children of God, Children of War, Lipstick, Nesma's Birds, War Cannister, Happy Birthday and My Name is Mohamed.
- Saturday, May 3, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Panel discussion "Children and Trauma," an interactive discussion with academic scholars and filmmakers following the screening of the seven Iraqi short films.
- Saturday, May 3, 5 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.: U.S. premiere of the short film Record; Texas premiere of the feature documentary Return to Homs
- Saturday, May 3, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Feature narrative When I Saw You
- Sunday, May 4, 1 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.: Texas premiere of the short narrative My Sense of Modesty; feature narrative Wadjda
- Sunday, May 4, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Arabs shorts screening, including the Texas premieres of Ismail, Sabbat El Aid and The Big House-Al Bayt Al Kabeer, the U.S. premiere of Om Amira, and Mehdi
- Sunday, May 4, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: Texas premiere of the short narrative Studio Beirut; feature documentary A World Not Ours
Tickets to the film festival are free for students with student ID, $5 for general audience single tickets and $30 for a festival pass. Tickets may be purchased at the theater ticket booth.
Sponsors for the festival are the Embrey Family Foundation, Ikebana4u.com, the Art Education and Art History Department at UNT's College of Visual Arts and Design, the Multicultural Center at UNT, AFRAH Mediterranean Restaurant, the Media Library at UNT, Dr. Ali Sinnokrut and Dr. Eid Mustafa.
About the Arab Film Festival Texas
The Arab Film Festival Texas was started by Tania Khalaf, a Lebanese film professor in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at the University of North Texas. Khalaf grew up in Lebanon during the civil war and bore witness to the tragedy of war and its effect on people. As a result, she developed a strong passion for social equality and human rights. In 2003, she came to the United States to further her education in film studies. After beginning her teaching career at UNT she felt the need to have an Arab Film Festival in Texas after having traveled to other Arab film festivals around the world showing her own work. In 2013, she founded and organized Texas' first Arab film festival with the support of UNT's Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute. The festival will further the mission of CAMCSI to foster an appreciation for Arab culture by reaching a wide audience of students, scholars, businesses and the public, and supporting Arab and Muslim worlds-related cultural activities.