Saturday, October 12, 2013

18th Annual Arabian Sights Film Festival Kicks Off October 25th

From our friends at Arabian Sights...

The 18th Annual Arabian Sights Film Festival kicks off Friday, October 25 presenting a diverse selection of the most captivating and vibrant films from today’s Arab world. Running through Sunday, November 3, the Festival will feature innovative films from numerous Arab countries including Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, plus European co- productions.

The Arabian Sights Film Festival showcases films that demonstrate range and commitment of directors who invariably manage to tell moving stories while exploring issues facing their region. The Arabian Sights Audience Award will be awarded to the film voted most popular by the audience. All films in this series are Washington, DC premieres, including one American premiere and one East Coast premiere. All films have English subtitles.

Highlights include our Opening Night event, featuring INHERITANCE, a story of a Palestinian family living in the north of Galilee preparing for the wedding of the patriarch’s eldest granddaughter amidst a raging war between Lebanon and Israel. Screening will be held at the AMC Mazza Gallerie followed by a reception sponsored by the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). Tickets are $20.

The festival will include the American premiere of the Moroccan film TANJAOUI with noted director, Moumen Smihi, in attendance on Saturday, November 2 and Sunday, November 3. Mr. Smihi is recognized for his influential career and impact on the “new Arab cinema”. Also featured will be the East Coast premiere of THE LEBANESE ROCKET SOCIETY, an amazing documentary about a group of Armenian-Lebanese mathematicians, physicists and engineers at Haigazian University in Beirut in the 1960s who produced the first space rocket in the Arab world. This film won the Best Feature Documentary at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2012.

CASABLANCA MON AMOUR, written and directed by American filmmaker John Slattery, is a fiction/nonfiction hybrid that offers a Moroccan perspective between Hollywood and the Arab world. Director John Slattery will be in attendance at his screening on Sunday, October 27.

A COMMON ENEMY, a political documentary on the first ever Tunisian elections, will include a post screening discussion with director Jaime Otero Romani on Saturday, November 2.

From Egypt, CHAOS, DISORDER is a social fantasy in a controversial setting. Director Nadine Khan’s debut feature is modern, edgy and winner of the Special Jury Award at the Dubai International Film Festival, and winner of the Grand Prize at the Oran Film Festival (Algeria.)

JEWS OF EGYPT is a documentary capturing lives of the Egyptian Jewish community in the first half of the twentieth century. This film is the winner of Best Documentary Award at the Malmo Film Festival (Sweden). Producer Haitham Al Khamissi will be in attendance at the screening on Sunday, November 3.

A timely panel on Egyptian Cinema Today and Tomorrow, will take place on Sunday, November 3 at 2:30 pm at AMC Mazza Gallerie. The panel will be moderated by Thomas Gorguissian, Egyptian journalist who specializes in film, culture and politics. FREE.

CONFIRMED GUESTS: Director John Slattery, Casablanca Mon Amour Director Jaime Otero Romani, A Common Enemy Producer, Haitham Al Khamissi, Jews of Egypt Director, Moumen Smihi, Tanjaoui

SPECIAL EVENTS: Opening Night Reception on October 25 Q & As with special guests throughout the festival Panel: Egyptian Cinema Today and Tomorrow on November 3 at 2:30 pm

TICKETS are $12.00 per person for each screening, unless otherwise noted. A Festival Pass is available, 10 tickets for a discounted rate of $95. This pass does not include Opening Night. Tickets may be purchased online through the Festival web site or until midnight the day before the show; tickets are also available at the theater starting one hour before the first show of the day.

For more information call 202-234-3456 or visit

Theater Location: All film screenings will be at AMC Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Ave., NW - Parking garage available

Film trailers and a complete schedule are available online at Click the catalog cover image on our homepage for a downloadable PDF of the catalog.

Thank You Sponsors: Arabian Sights is presented by the Washington, DC International Film Festival. Special thanks to our sponsors: University of the District of Columbia; Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University; American Task Force on Palestine; American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; The Jerusalem Fund; Georgetown Design Group; Sahouri Insurance & Finance; Middle East Institute; Women in Film & Video, AMTRAK, Turkish Airlines; myTV; Modus Hotels, The Official Hotel of Filmfest DC; and WAMU 88.5FM, The Official Radio Station of Filmfest DC.

About Filmfest DC:
Since its inception in 1987, Filmfest DC has become one of Washington's major cultural events, enhancing the profile of the nation's capital both nationally and internationally. Filmfest DC is a District- wide event, bringing together the city's major cultural institutions in a spirit of cooperation and celebration. Films that have premiered at past Festivals encompass a broad range of international cinema. Arabian Sights is one unique annual festival created and administered under the FFDC umbrella. For more information, visit

Highlight Summaries of Arabian Sights 2013 Films

ASFOURI | Fouad Alaywan | Lebanon
Nominated for Best Feature at the Dubai International Film Festival

BEKAS | Karzan Kader | Iraq/Sweden/Finland Critic’s Choice Award at the Dubai International Film Festival; Honorary mention for Best Debut Film at the Stockholm International Film Festival

CASABLANCA MON AMOUR | John Slattery | US/Morocco

CHAOS, DISORDER | Nadine Khan | Egypt Special Jury Award at the Dubai International Film Festival; Grand Prize at the Oran Film Festival (Algeria)

A COMMON ENEMY | Jaime Otero Romani | Tunisia/Spain

INHERITANCE | Hiam Abbass | Palestine/France/Israel/Turkey
Opening Night; Lumiere Award (France)

JEWS OF EGYPT | Amir Ramses | Egypt Best Documentary at the Malmo Film Festival (Sweden)

THE LEBANESE ROCKET SOCIETY | Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige | Lebanon/France/Qatar East Coast Premiere; Best Feature Documentary at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival

TANJAOUI | Moumen Smihi | Morocco American Premiere

A WORLD NOT OURS | Mahdi Feilfel | Lebanon/UK Best Film in the International Competition at the Edinburgh Film Festival; Peace Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival; Best New Nordic Voice Award at Nordisk Panorama (Sweden); Audience Award for Best Documentary at Sarajevo International Film Festival; Best Documentary Prize at New Homeland Film Festival (Austria)

ZABANA! | Said Ould-Khelifa | Algeria Algeria’s entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards