The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and Sursock Museum are pleased to announce a year-long partnership which will bring forward a monthly series of screenings showcasing the work of Arab filmmakers supported by AFAC over the past years.
Entitled “AFAC Film Night”, the series will offer local audiences a film screening each month and a glimpse at independent filmmaking in the region which suffers from under-exposure and little accessibility due to the absence of any distribution structure for Arab films within the Arab region. Curated by AFAC and Sursock Museum, the screenings are divided into four programs, each with a title at which the films’ narratives converge: Displacement, Entrapment, Resilience, and Retrospection. Each of the four programs will comprise three feature-length films to be screened over 3 months.
The series will kick off on May 4th 2016 with Displacement program and will continue during June and July. Three documentary films reflecting on contemporary Arab societies will be screened as part of this program: Port of Memory (May 4th) by Kamal Aljafari, Home Sweet Home (June 8th) by Nadine Naous and Roshmia (July 6th) by Salim Abu Jabal.
Drawing on contemporary social preoccupations, the film selection will encompass a wide range of themes pertaining to the diverse regional contexts. By highlighting the regional diversity, the series wishes to provide audiences with a broader view of the socio-political context, provoke thoughts and discussions on pressing issues and major changes the region is undergoing.
All screenings will take place at Sursock Museum Auditorium. The second program will be announced in July.
AFAC Film Night (May-July, 2016)
Port of Memory (2009)
Dir. Kamal Aljafari (Palestine)
35mm, Color, 58 minutes, Arabic with English subtitles
Wednesday 4 May, 19:00
Auditorium, Level -2
The history of the town of Jaffa, a thriving port city now part of Tel Aviv, provides the background for Aljafari’s film, centering on his mother’s family at risk of eviction if they can’t find proof that the house they have lived in for decades belongs to them. This skeletal narrative provides the scaffolding for a portrait of life in a once bustling neighborhood that was nearly emptied during the establishment of the state of Israel, suffering decades of neglect. In the meantime, Jaffa was often used as a location for action films, featuring the likes of Chuck Norris. While these films used the city as a generically exotic location, they have now become the source of documentary images of the city as it was.
Kamal Aljafari is a graduate of the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, where he received the Friedrich-Vordemberge Visual Art Prize of the City of Cologne in 2004. His films include The Roof (2006), recipient of the Best International On Screen (Video) Award (Images Festival, Toronto) and the Soundtrack Prize (FIDMarseille 06, Marseille), and Port of Memory (2009), which received the Prix de l’Instititut français-Louis Marcorelles at Cinema du Réel, Paris. He was a featured artist at the 2009 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in New York, and in 2009-2010 was the Benjamin White Whitney fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute and Film Study Center.
Dir. Salim Abu Jabal (Palestine)
Color, 70 minutes, Arabic with English subtitles
Wednesday 8 June, 19:00
Auditorium, Level -2
Yousef Hassan, commonly known as Abu al-Abed, seeks refuge in a shack with his wife Amma in the Roshmia valley in 1956 after being displaced from his neighborhood of Wadi al-Salib in downtown Haifa. Life is quiet in the Roshmia valley, until the Haifa municipality decides to destroy their shack in order to pave a new road. Aouni, the couple's middleman, is about to discover the possibility for financial compensation, which creates tension between the three people. In addition to physical displacement, the couple is about to divorce.
Salim Abu Jabal is a Ramallah-based Syrian filmmaker from the occupied Golan Heights. He has worked as a journalist and film critic, and pursued a career in television and cinema. His first feature film, Roshmia, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival, the Grand Prix du Documentaire at the Festival International du Cinéma Méditerranéen de Tétouan, and the Open Eyes Award for Best Documentary at MedFilm Festival, Rome.
Home Sweet Home (2014)
Dir. Nadine Naous (Lebanon)
59min, Stereo Color and Black & White, Arabic
Thursday 11 August
Auditorium, Level -2
Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Naous learned that her father, the principle of The Lebanese Rabia School in South Beirut, was in serious financial difficulties and might be forced to sell his school. The filmmaker returns to her homeland to document this painful period in her family’s lives and in the life of Lebanon. Home Sweet Home is a very personal portrait of her parents, and particularly of her father – a man who, she admits, she had always hero-worshipped. The film comes from the initial urge to make her father open up a dialogue about his financial situation, a position that many in Lebanon face in silence and secrets. The video moves between a documentary of her father and an animated sequence. Naous says she believes that making a film about her father’s predicament actually helped her (and him) to open up to a greater extent than if she’d just gone home to confront him without a film crew in tow.
Nadine Naous (b. 1974) is a director, screenwriter and actress. She lives and works in France.
The Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum in the center of Beirut first opened in 1961, with a mission to collect, preserve, and exhibit local and international art.
Through its collection, archives, exhibitions, and public programs, the museum aim to produce knowledge on art practices in the region and explore work that reflects on our contemporary moment. The goal is to support local art production, to provide a platform for encounter and experimentation with art and ideas, and to inform and challenge different audiences in new and unexpected ways.