Monday, September 24, 2018

Arabian Sights Film Festival Returns October 18-28

Induced Labor closes this year's Arabian Sights Film Festival

From our friends at Filmfest DC...

The 23rd annual Arabian Sights Film Festival (October 18-28) is pleased to announce its selection of outstanding new, diverse and thought-provoking films from the Arab world. All films are screened with English subtitles.

WHAT: 23rd Arabian Sights Film Festival

WHEN: October 18-28, 2018

WHERE: Screenings will be held at AMC Mazza Gallerie Theatres, 5300 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

TICKETS: $14 per ticket unless otherwise noted. Discount Package - 10 tickets for $100 (does not include Opening Night and Closing Night.) Student discount available at the theater. Tickets can be purchased on our website, Advanced purchases are subject to a convenience fee.

MORE INFORMATION: For more information, please visit

WHY: The Arabian Sights Film Festival showcases the newest and most intriguing films made by innovative directors who tell engaging stories while exploring issues facing the Arab region. The festival highlights quality cinema from a region often overlooked in mainstream American theaters. Select guest film directors will be present at their screenings to offer a unique insight to the filmmaking process. The Washington, DC International Film Festival is the parent organization of Arabian Sights. This year, Arabian Sights is presented by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC.

This year’s festival includes:

OPENING NIGHT FILM, Arabian Sights Film Festival, 2018
On Borrowed Time, directed by Yasir Al Yasiri | UAE
Life in a retirement home isn’t very exciting for Fares and his four equally grumpy friends who spend their days grumbling about uncaring children, swapping medications, acting as matchmakers and watching movies they’ve see before, but can’t remember. Until Fares receives a $14 million windfall courtesy of a deceased nephew. Winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, 2018.

• El Gusto, directed by Safinez Bousbia | Algeria/France/Ireland
Disbanded after the Algerian Revolution, Arab and Jewish musicians reunite as “El Gusto” to play Chabbi music, literally “the music of the people,” in this moving documentary about friendship. This screening is co-presented with the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Galleries of Art.

Heaven Without People, directed by Lucien Bourjeily | Lebanon
Josephine, the matriarch of a large family, gathers everyone for Easter lunch for the first time in years. During the lunch, personal tensions rise to the surface. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival and the World Vision Award at the Cinequest International Film Festival.

Lola Pater, directed by Nadir Moknèche | France
When his mother dies, Zino decides to go looking for his father, Farid. But 25 years ago, Farid transitioned into Lola! With Fanny Ardant.

The Man Who Stole Banksy, directed by Marco Proserpio | Italy
Renowned street artist Banksy, traveled to Palestine and painted politically charged works on walls and buildings. A specific piece depicting an Israeli soldier checking a donkey’s ID created substantial controversy. Some viewed it as a nuisance; others hailed the work as high art; and still more saw a business opportunity by stealing the entire cement wall and auctioning it to the highest bidder. Narrated by pop star Iggy Pop.

Orchestra Class, directed by Rachid Hami | France
Comedy/drama. Stars Kad Merad as a disillusioned professional violinist who rediscovers his love of music when he takes a job as the conductor-tutor for an orchestra class in a disadvantaged neighborhood.

Sofia, directed by Meryem Benm’Barek | France
A pregnant 20-year-old single Moroccan girl faces tough local laws on sex outside of marriage when she suddenly gives birth. In order to avoid arrest she must quickly make contact with the child’s father. But as the film progresses, the story reveals itself to be far more than it first appears. Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize for Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival.

Volubilis, directed by Faouzi Bensaïdi | Morocco/France/Qatar
Newlyweds Abdelkader & Malika struggle to make ends meet. One day at work, Abdelkader, a shopping mall guard, experiences a violent incident that will turn their destiny upside down.

Wajd: Songs of Separation, directed by Amar Chebib | Canada
In 2010 Syrian-Canadian filmmaker Amar Chebib traveled to Syria just before chaos broke out to make a documentary about Sufi music. Five years later he re-connects with the musicians, now dispersed around Europe. What unites them all is a love of Syrian music and a devotion to their country.

ASWAT: Short Films By & About Arab Women (ASWAT means voices in Arabic)
Battalion to My Beat, directed by Eimi Imanishi | Algeria/USA/Western Sahara
Black Mamba, directed by Amel Guellaty | Tunisia
Listen, directed by Rungano Nyoni & Hamy Ramezan | Italy/USA
The Neighbor, directed by Nayla Al Khaja | UAE
The Parrot, directed by Darin J. Sallam & Amjad Al-Rasheed | Germany/Jordan
Salam, directed by Claire Fowler | USA/Wales
The Wedding Singer’s Daughter, directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour | Italy/USA

CLOSING NIGHT FILM, Arabian Sights Film Festival
• Induced Labor, directed by Khaled Diab | Egypt
In order to obtain an American visa, an Egyptian couple expecting twins come up with what they believe to be the perfect plan: Hijack the U.S. embassy in Cairo to give birth on U.S. territory, granting their children American citizenship in the process.