Dear Film- and Mediacolleagues, the 10th ALFILM – Arabic Film Festival Berlin presents, in its anniversary edition, artistically challenging cinema with the latest feature films and documentaries as well as animated movies. Between Europe and the Arabic region the films reflect individual fates and historical incisions, and poses questions on future and self-actualization. As a special there are feature-length and short movies which are product of cooperation between German and Egyptian directors, producers and other poets.

A focus of this festival is Egypt, which is represented with two feature films (Cannes-surprise YOMEDDINE and EXT./NIGHT), the fiction-documentary DREAMAWAY as well as shorts in German-Egyptian coproduction from the program “lab/p – poetry in motion 3“. DREAMAWAY is the result of the longstanding collaboration between the Egyptian director Marouan Omara and the German director Johanna Domke and is their second film in co-direction. It emerged around the Film Prize of the Robert-Bosch-Foundation for International Cooperation.

The coproduction with the Arabic world is another topic which is reflected in various forms in the program, as well as the opening of the festival for engaged perspectives of non-Arabic filmmakers like Mats Groruds with his animation movie THE TOWER or the documentary SAMOUNI ROAD by the Italian Stefano Savona.

Highlights OFFICIAL SELECTION:

The 10th ALFILM will be opened with Yomeddine (A. B. Shawky, Egypt 2018). Beshay hit rock bottom after the death of his wife. Alone and self-dependent he decides to finally search for his family. He loads his meager possessions on a donkey-drawn cart and leaves the leper colony where he had lived since childhood. The shrewd Nubian orphan Obama joins him and together they start a journey into the unknown. Even though Beshay has long since been cured, he is disfigured by scars. Together they withstand all difficulties in the search for their roots and a new home. This road movie, shot with impressive non-professional actors, premiered 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival. In presence of the director

The feature Zagros (Sahim Omar Khalifa, Belgium 2017) tells of the flight towards a new life: When several village inhabitants accuse Havin (Halima Ilter), the pregnant wife of shepherd Zagros (Feyyaz Duman), of adultery, she leaves the Kurdish mountains and flees with her daughter to relatives in Brussels. Convinced of her innocence, Zagros breaks with his traditional family and follows her. In Belgium he hopes for a new life with his wife and daughter, but soon doubts and jealousy creep into his heart. The psychogram of a uncertain man was named best film at the Film Festival Gent and is the feature debut of the Iraqi-born Kurdish director. In presence of the main actress and director

Les Bienheureux / The Blessed is situated in Algiers, some years after the end of the civil war: in a bourgeois quarter Amal (Nadia Kaci) and Samir (Sami Bouajila) want to celebrate their 20th anniversary. The drive to the restaurant turns into a disillusioning journey into reality for the middle-class couple, that viewes the political ideals of their youth betrayed. At the same time their son Fahim and his friends Feriel and Reda stand before the abys of a youth in a nightly Algiers, corroded by ideology and violence, between pop culture, drugs and history. After several short stories Sofia Djama wrote the script for her memorable debut, which premiered at the festival of Venice. In presence of the director

Ext./Night (Ahmad Abdalla, Egypt/UAE 2018, 98 min., Arab. with en. ST) The aspiring young director Moe (Karim Kassem) is in the middle of an existential crisis – his film is underfinanced, his friends are being arrested and his dream projects cannot be accomplished. A taxi ride through Cairo opens his eyes and he is introduced to a different side of the city. Together with the witty prostitute Toutou (Mona Hala) and the choleric taxi driver Mostafa (Sherif El Desouky) he manages to break free of his bubble, even if the first landing on the concrete of the nocturnal moloch is rough. In his fifth feature film Abdalla again portrays the struggle of young artists over expression and truth. In presence of the director

In the essayistic documentary Erased,_ Ascent of the Invisible (Ghassan Halwani, Lebanon 2018) director Halwani searches for a man who was abducted 35 years ago in Beirut and has been missing ever since. 10 years ago his face reappeared, but was it really the same man? Director Halwani takes the viewers on a forensic paper chase, using different artistic and investigative techniques. His debut uncovers, layer by layer, the darkest chapters of Lebanese history on walls, documents and urban architecture. Looking for the abducted man of the past, whose vision still haunts him, he finds the ghosts of other “disappeared” in the present and poses questions of truth and reprocessing today.

Further highlights:

ALFILM presents the animation film The Tower from the Norwegian director Mats Grorud, which tells the story of elven-year-old Wardi, who lives in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. The film is a result of animation workshops that Grorud conducted in Bourj el-Barajneh.

Additionally this year the program includes a Saudi comedy – Amra and the Second Marriage – from Mahmoud Sabbagh (Barakah meets Barakah), that points at the situation of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia with comic overstatement.

The complete program with detailed information will be available from the 18th March 2019 on the website.

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