Learn and laugh at the Calgary Arab Film Festival
Now in its second year, CAFF features documentaries and feature films from the Middle East. This year, CAFF is screening films from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.
Christopher Venus, the festival’s communications and media specialist says, “CAFF is not a political movement. It is merely a framework for showcasing the spirit and diversity of the Arab World in all its forms.”
Venus said SAIT students would benefit from attending CAFF for three reasons. Firstly, he said the Arab world is often showed in a biased way in Hollywood and the mainstream media, and CAFF better represents the Arab experience.
Secondly, the world is a global village, and we are connected, whether through business or politics. By coming to the festival, students can interact with Arab culture without a plane ticket. Finally, the recent revolutions in the Arab world have been youth lead. Students can learn something from Arab youth, and retool the lessons to tackle problems here in Calgary.
Here are three great CAFF moments not to miss:
18 Days (Egypt, 2011)
18 Days is a series of 10 short films, made with no budget by a crew of directors, actors, and technicians – all volunteers. The films are mostly documentaries, chronicling the Egyptian revolution and Arab Spring that took place earlier this year. Not only does 18 Days start conversation about the current state of the revolution, but it shows the elation that captured the Egyptian people in Tahrir Square. The film was well received at its North American debut at the Toronto International Film
Man Without a Cell Phone (Palestine, France, Belgium, Qatar, 2010)
Jawdat, a young man in his 20s, is looking to find a girlfriend and get into Hebrew College. However, his Palestinian town in Israel is complicating things. His father, the belligerent olive-farmer Salem, has dragged the entire village into his war against the Israeli cell-phone tower nearby thereby complicating Jawdat’s social life. Director Sameh Zoabi deftly allows the broader social issues at stake to take the backstage to a light-hearted comedy.
Guest Speaker: Mona Eltahawy
Mona Eltahaway is an award-winning public speaker and writer. She was born in Egypt, and is currently based out of New York City. Her TED talk on Muslim women and her coverage of the protests in Egypt have both gained her world-wide recognition. She will be speaking on Arab culture and how the Western world can support Arab art.