11th ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin, April 1-8, 2020

From 1–8 April 2020, ALFILM once again presents fresh cinema from the Arab world and its diaspora at Kino Arsenal, City Kino Wedding and Wolf Kino. Telling the stories of lost sons and brave women, the current feature and documentary films of the OFFICIAL SELECTION show a contemporary and oftentimes very personal picture of a region in movement. The side program SPOTLIGHT depicts strong female perspectives on war, conflict and other societal states of emergency with films from Syria, Iraq, and Algeria i. a.

A symposium for and with filmmakers and cultural professionals in exile will offer opportunities for discussions, exchange, and networking. The annual festival party on 4 April will feature live concerts by various artists and DJ sets, rounding off the accompanying program.

Film preview:

The festival opens with the Sudanese feature film YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY (Sudan/France/Egypt/Germany/Norway/Qatar 2019) in the presence of the director Amjad Abu Alala. In his feature film debut, based on a short story by Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada, a dervish predicts a mother that her newborn boy Muzamil (Mustafa Shehata) will die at the age of 20. The film was awarded the “Lion of the Future” prize for the best debut film at its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

In the Egyptian documentary LET’S TALK from 2019, Marianne Khoury, the niece of famous director Youssef Chahine, grapples with her family history. Khoury not only tells the story of her family dynasty from a female perspective, but also reflects on being a woman and a mother and candidly approaches the issues of work and family in the face of personal, artistic and national crises.

North African cinema is particularly present in this year’s selection with further feature films such as A SON by Mehdi Barsaoui (Tunisia/France/Lebanon/Qatar 2019) and ABOU LEILA by Amin Sidi-Boumédiène (Algeria/France/Qatar 2019), which had success in Cannes, as well as documentaries such as the collectively and independently produced AMUSSU by Nadir Bouhmouch (Morocco 2019).

The SPOTLIGHT program presents FERTILE MEMORY, the first feature film of a Palestinian – Michel Khleifi – shot on both sides of the “Green Line”. He portrays two very different women: portrays two very different women: Roumia Farah Hatoum, a simple elderly widow living close-by Nazareth, and the young writer and intellectual Sahar Khalifeh in Ramallah, both holding their grounds in complex situations. Fertile Memory is considered the initiation work of Palestinian cinema and will be screened in its recently restored version. In the Iraqi fiction film THE JOURNEY by Mohamed Al-Daradji, a new train station is scheduled to open in Baghdad in 2006. All kinds of people have gathered at the railway station for the celebratory event. Sara’s (Zahraa Ghandour) plans in view of the event are thwarted by the dubious businessman Salam, and the two find themselves unexpectedly bound together with a bomb and a baby on the rail tracks. Daradji’s third feature film uses the perspective of a female suicide bomber to portray Iraq’s complex social fabric after the American invasion, whose oppression mechanisms are passed on to the next weakest, and all the way down to the children. In the scope of the SPOTLIGHT, a panel discussion on the subject of “Arab filmmakers and feminist films” will take place. Naziha Arebi, director of FREEDOM FIELDS, Zahraa Ghandour, leading actress of THE JOURNEY and Sarah Kaskas, director of UNDERDOWN will discuss with moderator Irit Neidhardt, author, curator, and film distributor at mec Film.

The complete festival program with detailed information will be available from mid-March on www.alfilm.berlin.

ALFILM is supported by the multi-sector funding for festivals and series (4 years) of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

In collaboration with Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation, Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Center of Modern Oriental Studies. Supported by the Mission of the League of Arab States and the Qattan Foundation.

Press contact:

fabrikpublik – Kreatives PR- & Projektmanagement

Christiane Dramé
Kanzowstr. 16
10439 Berlin
Tel. 030. 44 71 72 49
Mob. 0173. 874 19 39

Uta Rügner   
Simplonstr. 32
10245 Berlin
Tel. 030. 97 98 70 45
Mob. 0179-774 02 97

Organiser: ALFILM Festival Zentrum für arabische Filmkunst und Kultur e.V. Potsdamer Str. 151 D-10783 Berlin info@alfilm.berlin www.alfilm.berlin