15 Years ALFILM – 15 Years Arab Cinema in Berlin

It’s been 15 years since ALFILM, the Arab Film Festival of Berlin, has been presenting Arab stories in German cinemas.

15 years that saw manifold changes throughout the Arab region, which altered not only the fates of countries but also the fates of their citizens. 15 years that witnessed further forms of oppression, censorship, and domination, but which also birthed new forms of protests, solidarity, and resistance. 15 years of political, cultural, and societal instability, which also forced many to abandon their lives, to flee, to start anew, elsewhere. 15 years that enabled newer generations to dream of a better tomorrow, but whose dreams have been crushed by these same 15 years.

In these 15 years, ALFILM has accompanied on screen the various political upheavals that the Arab region has gone through. From brutal wars to extemporaneous revolutions, from regimes getting toppled to protesters risking their lives, from waves of migration to waves washing away refugee boats, and ongoing cycles of violence against the Palestinian people.

By addressing the Political, ALFILM has also dissected the Personal, putting forward characters shaping up their history, their identity, their dreams, their thoughts, their reality, and their tomorrows. 

In these 15 years, and through an abundance of programs, ALFILM has hoped to challenge prevailing stereotypes and deconstruct predominant opinions about the Arab World in these 15 years. It proved that the cinema of this part of the world has a place in the German film landscape, and established an audience for it.

ALFILM has offered German and non-Arab audiences in Germany the chance to have a different window into the Arab World through genuine storytelling. It offered Arab audiences in Germany the chance to discover their own stories, on the big screen. It offered filmmakers and film talents the opportunity to openly discuss their stories and their artistry with the public in Berlin.

As such, ALFILM has initiated a continuous bridge that served as a dialogue between the Arab World, in all of its complexity, its diversity, and its plurality, and Germany.

With its 15th edition, ALFILM is inviting you, our audience, to reflect on the state of things today, to dare to be critical, to explore the power of your voice, to ensure that you are seen, but also to dream of a better tomorrow. One that will resist being crushed by oppressive forces, whichever and wherever they are.

All your tomorrows start here.
Welcome to ALFILM.

Rabih El-Khoury
Head of Program


The 15 Years ALFILM – 15 Years Arab Cinema in Berlin Special Program features performances, film screenings, a panel discussion and master classes. It sheds light on the vital role played by ALFILM in Berlin’s cultural scene for the last 15 years, and highlights the values portrayed by the festival, namely representation, cultural exchange, integration, and diversity.

Commemorating 15 years of ALFILM’s commitment to telling Arab stories through an Arab perspective, Palestine – A Revised Narrative will feature a live performance by music composer Cynthia Zaven commenting on a short film edited from silent clips shot between 1914 and 1918 by British Forces in Palestine. Through a sound scope imagined by Rana Eid and a score (recorded and performed live) composed by Cynthia Zaven, the artists reflect on the British imperial narrative of this turning point in history. They place it within the context of a century of events that followed the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of the Middle East’s nation-states.

The Panel Discussion & Networking Session Arab and African Voices in Today’s German Film Landscape, organized in cooperation with the festival AFRIKAMERA, addresses the place of Arab and African cinemas and perspectives in the German current cultural scenery.

Two Master Classes enrich the 15 Years ALFILM – 15 Years Arab Cinema in Berlin Special Program: the first features Egyptian director Ahmad Abdalla, the second is led by Sound Designer Rana Eid. Abdalla and Eid are established figures of the current Arab cinematic landscape, and over the last 15 years, ALFILM has featured many of their works in its programs. Through these master classes, the festival wishes to honor these major artists and friends of the festival, and invite its audience and the German film industry to discover their creative processes and point of views on Arab cinema.

Over the years, ALFILM has built a special bond with the community of Arab filmmakers from the diaspora living in Berlin. Through workshops, screenings and discussions, the festival has considered it its role to support and showcase their works. This year, many of their short films are featured in the program, among them Khaled Abdulwahed’s Backgound (2023), Mohamad Moe Sabbah co-directed Embodied Chorus (2023), Dima Hamdan’s Blood Like Water (2023), Hussen Ibrahim’s Manity (2023), Osama Hafiry’s Amygdala (2023) and Abdallah Al-Khatib’s Sokrania 59 (2023).

Last but not least, the festival and the15 Years ALFILM – 15 Years Arab Cinema in Berlin program will conclude with a special Closing Event organized in cooperation with AL.Berlin. This singular program will include live performances with captivating acts and immersive experiences by an electrifying audio-visual line-up of major Arab and Palestinian artists.

Events of the 15h ALFILM Program



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