The festival's management made the announcement on social media.
The 27th annual Arab Film Festival has been postponed due to rising tensions in the Middle East. The festival is organised by the Arab Film and Media Institute and was scheduled to open on November 10 at the Castro Theatre, San Francisco. The festival celebrates Arab cinema from various Middle Eastern regions, including the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
A statement from Serge Bakalian, the executive director of the Arab Film and Media Institute, on Instagram reads:
“This is one of the most difficult messages I’ve had to write during my tenure as Executive Director, but after careful consideration and days of long conversations with the team and with leaders in the community, the Board and I have decided to postpone the 27th edition of the Arab Film Festival.
We have always found strength in coming together around movies, sharing our stories and narratives; that is still and will always be our mission. But in light of current events and the speed at which catastrophes are unfolding, we feel the need to be present and hold space for each other in a different way. Some of us are mourning, some are angry, some are experiencing anxiety or shock. The Arab Film Festival has always been an annual celebration of Arab cinema and Arab storytellers, unfortunately this does not feel like a moment of celebration.
I understand that not everyone will be happy with this decision. But please let me assure you that the 27th Arab Film Festival has not been canceled, we are simply postponing it to a later date. We have been working tirelessly to present an industry-leading program, with World and US premieres, Academy films and the best of Arab cinema. We simply don’t believe this is the right time.”