The Safar From Home programme will offer five screenings for audiences to view online from September 13 to 20.
The Arab British Centre has announced that this year’s Safar Film Festival, dedicated to pan-Arab cinema, will be taking place virtually from September 13 to 20.
Following the difficult decision to postpone the in-person edition until 2021, this virtual edition called Safar From Home will offer audiences the opportunity to mark what would have been the fifth edition of the festival in London with a free, online programme accessible to all across the UK.
The Safar From Home programme will offer five screenings for audiences to view online from September 13 to 20, plus five live events over five evenings featuring leading filmmaking talent from across the Arab world.
The events programme will be accessible across the globe; film access will be restricted to the UK but with some variations.
Curated by Rabih El-Khoury, Safar From Home will explore Arab cinema through the theme of journeys: physical, emotional, transformational. Safar, which means journey in Arabic, has since 2012 invited audiences to journey into popular, contemporary, and literature-inspired Arab cinema.
Featuring films from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, the film programme will be accompanied by live events including director Q&As and discussions; panels exploring topics such as migration and life in the diaspora, and industry talks focused on sound design.
The events programme will conclude with a celebration of Safar Film Festival, where the Arab British Centre team along with a panel of previous festival guests will reflect on the growth of Safar since 2012, and discuss how the Arab cinema landscape has changed over the past eight years.
Speaking of his Safar From Home film programme, curator Rabih El-Khoury said: “In a year when travels became impossible, we wanted to offer the viewers the chance to travel to the Arab World and beyond through their screens at home. And while this programme is an invitation to imaginary journeys, the truth around the protagonists of these films is far from being a fictitious one. They defy their harsh realities. They question bewildering surroundings. They face inconceivable challenges. They lead quite impossible journeys. Yet through courage, resilience but also a lot of inspiration, they give a sense of meaning to their journeys.”
Amani Hassan, Programme Director and Acting Executive Director of the Arab British Centre said: “We are very happy to announce the SAFAR From Home initiative today. Following the difficult decision to postpone the in-person festival until 2021, we’re marking what would have been the landmark fifth edition with this alternative, virtual edition as a way to bring our audiences together and support the industry during this unprecedented time. Since quickly pivoting our programmes online in March, we’ve seen the thirst of people to connect with their culture, and with culture in general, and we hope that despite the physical distance, this programme will offer Safar’s usual, unique space to appreciate, reflect upon, and celebrate the cinema and filmmakers of the Arab world.”
The film and events programme will be announced in the coming weeks, as will the launch of the new, dedicated Safar Film Festival website where the festival will be hosted.