Several films by Arab filmmakers will be screened at the festival of which eight are competing for various awards as well.
For the seventh year in a row, Arab Cinema Center (ACC) returns to the 79th edition of Venice International Film Festival with a wide range of activities. This year’s activities are launched in collaboration with 13 partners (institutions, companies and film festivals) and include film screenings, awards ceremonies and panel discussions.
The partners who will join ACC at the Venice International Film Festival include Arab Radio & Television (ART) (Saudi Arabia), Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) (Egypt), El Gouna Film Festival (Egypt), Film Clinic (Egypt), IEFTA (Monaco), Lagoonie Film Production (Egypt), MAD Solutions (Egypt, UAE, Lisbon) and its two affiliated companies (MAD Celebrity and MAD Distribution), Malmo Arab Film Festival (Sweden), NEOM (Saudi Arabia), The Film Verdict (USA) and The Imaginarium Films (Jordan).
As part of Venice Production Bridge, a platform hosting experts and film professionals from all over the world through screenings, panel discussions and meetings, a panel discussion titled “Saudi Arabia: A New Key Player” will be held between Wayne Borg (Managing Director, Media, Entertainment and Culture, NEOM), Filipe Martin Gomes (Head of Innovation Programs King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra ), Charlene Deleon-Jones (Executive Director, Film AlUla), Abduljalil AlNasser (General Manager of Sector Development & Investment Attraction, Saudi Arabia Film Commission) and Shivani Pandya (Managing Director, Red Sea International Film Festival). The discussion will be moderated by Italian journalist Nick Vivarelli, Variety’s Middle East correspondent. Moreover, Shahid and OSN, platforms will participate in the “VOD Market Day: Meet the Streamers” event, part of the Venice Bridge activities.
The eight Arab Films competing in Venice include Our Ties by Roschdy Zem from Morocco as part of the Main Competition; For my Country by Rachid Hami from Algeria as part of the Orizzonti Competition; Nezouh from Soudade Kaadan, Syria and Hanging Gardens by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji, Iraq as part of the Orizzonti Extra Competition and My Girl Friend from Kawthar Younis, Egypt as part of the Orizzanti Short Film Competition. Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous by Wissam Charaf, Lebanon will be the opening film. Others competing include The Last Queen from Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounouri, Algeria; The Damned Don’t Cry by Fyzal Boulifa, Morocco; and Queens by Yasmine Benkiran, Morocco at the Venice International Film Critics’ Week.
On the sidelines of the Final Cut in Venice workshop, MAD Solutions will grant its special award, which comprises promotional and distribution services, while El Gouna Film Festival will offer a cash award ($5,000). There will be three Arab films competing for the awards at the workshop include Backstage, by Afef Ben Mahmoud and Khalil Benkirane (Morocco); Black Light, by Karim Bensalah (Algeria) and Inshallah a Boy, by Amjad Al Rasheed (Jordan). Additionally, three documentaries will be in competition including A Fidai Film, by Kamal Aljafari (Palestine); Land of Women, by Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir (Egypt) and Suspended, by Myriam El Hajj (Lebanon).
While Venice Gap-Financing Market will feature four Arab films; 5 Seasons of Revolution (Syria), The 67th Summer (Egypt), Fatna, A Woman named Rashid (Morocco) and immersive project Kandaka (Sudan).
On a parallel note, during the events of festival, ACC will release the 17th edition of Arab Cinema Magazine, which features “75 Years of Palestinian Cinema” campaign and celebrates women in cinema. In addition to that, the edition reveals various articles written by prominent Arab figures, namely Egyptian iconic star Youssra, Palestinian directors (Najwa Najjar and Basil Khalil) and Palestinian Researcher and Novelist Saleem Albeik.