This edition includes 51 films from 26 countries, all recent productions between 2020 and 2021.
For the second year in a row, the Amman International Film Festival – Awal Film (AIFF), has opened on August 23 and will continue until August 31, 2021.
Following the success of the drive-in cinema at the inaugural edition of the AIFF, the opening ceremony took place there too this year, making it the first to be organised in such a format in Jordan.
Starting with a musical compilation of soundtracks from Jordanian, Arab and International movies, performed by the Jordanian Ensemble, the opening was attended by Princess Rym Ali, President of the AIFF. She addressed the audience on-screen with a welcome note and said: “This Festival was launched last year despite all the challenges imposed by the global health crisis. The Amman International Film Festival can make a difference to the audience and filmmakers alike. We seek to provide a platform to present first-time achievements in filmmaking from the Arab world and beyond, as well as to support Jordanian and Arab projects by holding a series of thought-provoking talks and seminars. We look forward to becoming a beacon in the world of film festivals, in the near future.”
The opening also included a tribute to Jordan’s pioneer of modern art, Mohanna Durra, who passed away earlier this year while he had designed the Black Iris trophy, the award and symbol of the AIFF. The Festival also remembered the prominent cinematic figures, who passed away this year but who remain alive through their works.
The ceremony was followed by the screening of the Palestinian film Gaza mon amour (2020), directed by Tarzan and Arab Nasser, screened for the first time in Jordan. This edition includes 51 films from 26 countries, all recent productions between 2020 and 2021.
The screenings will also take place in two other locations: the open-air theatre at the Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFC), as well as TAJ Cinemas in compliance with public safety measures. Some films will be streamed online on Istikana platform. The AIFF is also keen on reaching audiences in the governorates specifically in Irbid, Salt and Wadi Rum.
Most of the screenings will be followed by discussions with their filmmakers allowing them to share their experiences. The Festival’s selection committee drafted a diverse programme for the second edition, all Jordanian premières, four of which are world premières, whereas eight films are premières in the Arab region.
Seven films will be competing for the Black Iris Award for Best Arab Feature-length Narrative, seven documentaries will be competing for the Black Iris for Best Arab Feature-length Documentary, while 18 films will be competing for the Black Iris Award for Best Arab Narrative Short. The international films are competing for the Audience Award.
This edition is hosting the Franco-Arab Film Festival in a special section “Franco-Arab Rendez-vous” which includes the opening film, three feature films and four shorts. Additionally, the AIFF sheds light on the career of the renowned Syrian director, Mohamed Malas, who will give a closer look at his cinematic journey and how it evolved.
The Amman Film Industry Days (AFID) programme starts today in parallel with the screenings, presenting a series of workshops, talks and pitching platforms for Jordanian and Arab projects in development or post-production.
The AIFF’s closing ceremony will take place at the RFC on August 31, during which the Jordanian short film Diana, directed by Maysoon Al-Hubaidi, will be screened out of competition. The jurors will also announce the winners in the various categories.