|  Arab European Creative Platform  |  2017  |  Germany

AUGUST 17: Freiluftkino Kreuzberg
AUGUST 18, 19, 20: Eiszeit

The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) in collaboration with ALFILM are happy to invite you to “Wish You Were Here: AFAC Music and Film Summer Festival” Running from the 17 to 20 August 2017 in Berlin. The festival will open with a music concert by Khyam Allami (Oud, Buzuq, Electronics) with Layale Chaker (Violin), Christine Zayed (Qanun), Daniele Camarda (Bass Guitar) and Andrea Belfi (Drums & Percussions) at Freiluftkino Kreuzberg followed by a screening of AS I OPEN MY EYES by Leyla Bouzid. Nine other film screenings are scheduled on 18, 19 and 20 August at Eiszeit including THE WANTED 18 by Amer Shomali & Paul Cowan, ALI, THE GOAT AND IBRAHIM by Sherif Elbendary, STREET OF DEATH by Karam Ghossein, MORNING FEARS, NIGHT CHANTS by Diana El Jeiroudi and Guevara Namer, THOSE FROM THE SHORE by Tamara Stepanyan, EINS, ZWEI, DREI by Billy Wilder, THE MULBERRY HOUSE by Sara Ishaq, THIS LITTLE FATHER OBSESSION by Sélim Mourad and THE TIME THAT REMAINS by Elia Suleiman.

Full Program

Freiluftkino Kreuzberg

8:00 pm<
Concert: Khyam Allami

Multi-instrumentalist musician and composer Khyam Allami premiers a new work, commissioned by AFAC, featuring Layale Chaker (Violin), Christine Zayed (Qanun) Daniele Camarda (Bass Guitar) and Andrea Belfi (Drums & Percussions). A cinematic and soundtrack-inspired exploration of Arabic electro-acoustic plucked strings and microtonal synthesis, as equally influenced by Gustavo Santaollala and Bohren und der Club of Gore as by Middle Eastern maqam and the slow complex rhythmic cycles of the Andalusian muwashshahat.

9:00 pm
Film Screening: AS I OPEN MY EYES (A peine j’ouvre les yeux)
- Tunisia/France/Belgium/UAE, 2015, Color, 102 minutes, in Arabic with subtitles in English.
Produced by: Sandra da Fonseca and Imed Marzouk
Directed by: Leyla Bouzid
Written by: Leyla Bouzid and Marie-Sophie Chambon
Cinematography: Sébastien Goepfert
Edited by: Lilian Corbeille
Original Music by: Khyam Allami
Cast: Baya Medhaffer, Ghalia Benali, Montassar Ayari, Aymen Omrani, Lassaad Jamoussi, Deena Abdelwahed, Youssef Soltana, Marwen Soltana, Najoua Mathlouthi, Youness Ferhi, Fathi Akkeri, Saloua Mohammed

Farah (Baya Medhaffer) is a young Tunisian woman at a crossroads. Her medical-school application has just been accepted, and nothing could please her mother (Ghalia Benali) more — but Farah’s passion is for music, and her underground band is just beginning to earn success. Their music blends rock and popular tradition, with boundary-pushing lyrics that have the raw poetry of spoken word. Soon enough, the police are alerted to the band’s subversive performances and begin to harass them, and when Farah is detained and interrogated, she realizes that one of her friends is a snitch. As I Open my Eyes is a fully accomplished first film, directed by Leyla Bouzid with unflinching honesty and an impeccable eye for detail. Bouzid’s behind-the-camera talent is complemented by Iraqi musician Khyam Allami’s compositions and Ghassen Amami’s hard-hitting lyrics, and by the engaging, truthful performances of the cast — particularly Medhaffer as the intelligent and animated Farah, who is a joy to watch on stage, and celebrated singer-performer Ghalia Benali in the role of Hayet, Farah’s mother.


7:00 pm
- Palestine/Canada/France/ UAE, 2014, Color and B&W, 75 minutes, in Arabic and Hebrew. With subtitles in English.
Produced by: Ina Fichman, Saed Andoni, Dominique Barnaud
Directed by: Amer Shomali & Paul Cowan,
Written by: Paul Cowan
Cinematography: German Gutierrez, Daniel Villeneuve
Animation: Michelle Lannen (Design), Dominique Coté (Art Direction), Myriam Elda Arsenault (Head Animator)
Drawings: Amer Shomali
Edited by: Aube Foglia
Original Music by: Benoit Charest
Voices: Alison Darcy, Heidi Foss, Rosann Nerenberg, Holly Uloth O’Brien

For most of the world, the Palestinian First Intifada (1987-1993) is a forgotten political event even though it ended the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The civilian unarmed insurgency that swept through the Occupied Territories, included protests, widespread refusal to pay taxes to the Israeli army, civil disobedience, and the creation of an alternative economy as a stepping stone for self-sufficiency and sovereignty.
In the town of Beit Sahur a group of men and women decide to buy cows, eighteen exactly, to produce their own milk as a cooperative. Their venture is so successful that the farm becomes a landmark and the cows, local celebrities… until the Israeli army takes note declares the cows as a ‘threat to the national security of the state of Israel’. The dairy venture is forced to operate in the underground and the cows have to go into hiding.
The Wanted 18 revisits that compelling chapter in the recent history of Palestine, from the perspective of the cows and the activists, using stop-motion animation, drawings, archival footage and interviews, the outcome is an enchanting reflection on the ingenuity and power of grassroots activism, that underlines the wisdom that violence is a failure of the imagination.

9:00 pm
- Egypt/France/ /UAE/Qatar, 2016, Color, 90 minutes, in Arabic. With subtitles in English.
Produced by: Mohamed Hefzy, Hossam Elouan, Guillaume de Seille
Directed by: Sherif Elbendary
Screenplay by: Ahmed Amer (based on a story by Ibrahim El Batout)
Cinematography: Amr Farouk
Edited by: Emad Maher
Original Music by: Ahmed Elsawy
Cast: Ali Sobhy, Ahmed Magdy, Nahed El Sebai, Salwa Mohamed Ali, Osama Abu El Atat, Sabry Fawwaz, Asser Yassin, Gamil Barsoum

Ali (Ali Sobhy) is in love with Nada, a goat, whom he believes is his fiancée. In the poor neighborhood of Cairo where he lives, only his friend Kamata (Osama Abu El Ata), a bus driver, indulges his folly, while his mother Nousa (Salwa Mohamed Ali) tries to “cure” him by dragging him to psychiatrists, exorcists and black magic charlatans. Ibrahim (Ahmed Magdy) works as a sound engineer, but he suffers from debilitating fits of hearing sounds in his head. His only surviving family is his grandfather, who suffered from the same ailment but rendered himself deaf to find relief. Ibrahim’s mother could not withstand the pain from the same symptoms and committed suicide. One day, while Ali is visiting a psychic he meets Ibrahim, the psychic gives each a bag with three stones and promises they will heal if they throw one stone each in one of Egypt’s three “waters”, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Nile river. Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim is an absurd, droll and compelling road-movie about friendship, empathy, overcoming grief and fear.


5:00 pm
STREET OF DEATH (Sharaa Al-Mawt)
- Lebanon/Germany, 2017, Color, 22 minutes, in Arabic. With subtitles in English.
Produced by: Emily Dische-Becker and Karam Ghossein
Directed by: Karam Ghossein
Written by: Karam Ghossein
Cinematography: Karam Ghossein
Edited by: Vartan Avakian
Sound: Mohamad Salameh
Sound Design: Gabòr Ripli, Jad Taleb, Ramzi Madi

In Street of Death, the narrator revisits a site of his youth, a lawless slum suburb pushed up against Beirut airport, where vendettas, crime, displays of power and raucous street weddings punctuate daily life. The treacherous stretch of highway was coined “street of death” after many young lives were lost as they performed motorcycle stunts. The roar and shadow of planes bearing down from the sky accentuate the claustrophobia and lack of opportunity for escape. Street of Death draws a raw, intimate and poetic portrait of a neighborhood through the stories of five inhabitants, weaving past and present, inviting a re-examination of our relationship to the turmoil of adolescence.

MORNING FEARS, NIGHT CHANTS (Sabahan Akhaf, Masa’an Ughanni) - Syria, 2012, Color, 29 minutes, in Arabic. With subtitles in English
directed by Diana El Jeiroudi and Guevara Namer (credited as Roula Lattkani & Salma Al Dairy), 29 minutes, in Arabic with subtitles in English)
Produced by: Diana El Jeiroudi for Proaction Film, Syria (credited as Syrians with Borders)
Directed by: Diana El Jeiroudi and Guevara Namer (credited as Roula Lattkani & Salma Al Dairy)
Cinematography: Guevara Namer
Editing: Diana El Jeiroudi

Morning Fears, Night Chants draws a portrait of a young Syrian woman who composes, sings and records protest songs in secret from her parents and family, in the hope that they will inspire others to rebel, demand freedom and believe in a better day. Neither she nor the people around her are ever identifiable on-screen. And the voices were manipulated to keep the chance of recognition to a minimum. In spite of this, the young woman continues to write and sing, so as not to stand by powerlessly, and get a small taste of the freedom she yearns for.

7:00 pm
- Lebanon/France/Armenia/Qatar, 2016, Color, 84 minutes, in Armenian, French. With subtitles in English.
Produced by: Nathalie Combe and Tamara Stepanyan
Directed by: Tamara Stepanyan
Written by: Tamara Stepanyan & Jean-Christophe Ferrari
Cinematography: Tammam Hamza, Tamara Stepanyan
Edited by: Olivier Ferrari
Sound: Frédéric Maury, Jean-Marc Schick

Set in Marseille, in 2014, Those from the Shore follows dozens of Armenian asylum seekers as they wait for their application to be considered. They left behind them a country whose people have settled around the world for over a hundred years, a country all describe as desert, abandoned by its inhabitants, emptied of its life. The film captures the forced stillness and the impotence of waiting, life suspended in the in-between space of two countries, and two lives. In that abstracted time and space, their life escapes them completely. By the shore, they float in limbo.

9:00 pm
EINS, ZWEI, DREI (One, Two, Three)
- US/Germany, 1961, 104 minutes, in English, German and Russian. With subtitles in English and Arabic.
Presented in collaboration with the Berlinale, with an introduction by Christoph Terhechte
Produced by: Billy Wilder
Directed by: Billy Wilder
Screenplay by: I. A. L. Diamond and Billy Wilder (based on Egy kettö, hàrom by Ferenc Molnár)
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Edited by: Daniel Mandell
Original Music by: André Previn
Narrated by: James Cagney
Cast: James Cagney, Horst Buccholz, Pamela Tiffin, Arlene Francis

One, Two, Three is a 1961 comedy directed by Billy Wilder based on the 1929 Hungarian one-act play Egy, kettő, három by Ferenc Molnár. Cagney plays the role of C.R. "Mac" MacNamara, a high-ranking executive in the Coca-Cola Company, assigned to West Berlin after a business fiasco a few years earlier in the Middle East (about which he is still bitter). He aspires to become to head Coca-Cola operations in western Europe, based in London. After working on an arrangement to introduce Coke into the Soviet Union, Mac learns from his boss, W.P. Hazeltine that his daughter, Scarlett Hazeltine, a hot-blooded 17-year-old socialite daughter, is coming to West Berlin. Mac is tasked with chaperoning her. Scarlett’s two-week visit extends into two months, and Mac discovers that she has married Otto Piffl, a passionate young East German Communist. As the couple make plans to settle in Moscow to make a new life for themselves, Hazeltine and his wife announce they are due in Berlin the next day to collect their daughter. Mac has to scheme a scenario to earn the promotion to the London office. The film was shot on the eve of the construction of the Berlin wall, and by the time it was released, the sinister reality of the divided city overwhelmed its reception. It was a box office flop both in the US and in Germany, however when it was released again in 1985 and became a box office success in West Germany and in France.


5:00 pm
- Yemen/UK/Syria/Egypt/US, 2013, Color, 65 minutes, in Arabic and English. With subtitles in English.
Produced by: Diana El Jeiroudi, Mostafa Youssef and Sara Ishaq
Directed by: Sara Ishaq
Written by: Sara Ishaq
Cinematography: Genevieve Bicknell & Sara Ishaq
Edited by: Doaa Fadel & Sara Ishaq
Sound: Sara Ishaq

Sara Ishaq grew up in Yemen, to a Yemeni father and a Scottish mother. When she became a teenager, she felt increasingly suffocated by the social and communal constraints of her society so at age 17, she finally decided to move to Scotland, where her mother now resides. Her father only approved her move under the condition that she would not forsake her Yemeni roots. A promise she made, but could not keep. Ten years later, in 2011, Sara returned to Yemen a different person, geared up to face the home of her past and reconnect with her long-severed roots. Against all expectations, she returned to find her family and country teetering on the brink of a revolution.

7:00 pm
- Lebanon, 2016, Color, 104 minutes, in Arabic and French. With subtitles in English.
Directed by: Sélim Mourad
Written by: Sélim Mourad
Editor: Carine Doumit
Producers: Jana Wehbe, Carole Abboud
Cinematography: Bachir Hajj, Jad Tannous
Sound: Lama Sawaya, Chadi Abi Chakra

At the heart of this bold and compelling hybrid film are questions about the significance of lineage and bequeathal. The film begins with Sélim Mourad staging a portrait of his own nuclear family, in which he claims a place on his own terms while facing up to the fact that he will not father a family because he is same-sex loving. After his sister’s passing, Mourad became his parents’ only child, but he is burdened with the knowledge that he is the last male to carry the family name. Meanwhile, the old building where his family lives and was bequeathed by his grand-father, is falling apart, but neither his father, nor aunt, can afford the cost of repairs. They want to sell it to a real-estate developer and move to a new apartment where they hope to spend the remainder of their years comfortably.
This Little Father Obsession explores existential questions while probing the intimacy of a family with courage, intelligence and humor, eloquently laced with fictional sequences. A refreshingly original, disarmingly honest and profound interrogation of the hold of patriarchy in contemporary Lebanese society.

9:00 pm
- Palestine/ /UK/Italy/Belgium/France, 2009, Color, 105 minutes, in Arabic, English and Hebrew. With subtitles in English.
Producers: Michael Gentile, Elia Suleiman
Directed by: Elia Suleiman
Written Elia Suleiman
Cinematography: Marc-André Batigne
Editing: Véronique Lange
Art Direction: Sharif Waked
Cast: Ali Suliman, Saleh Bakri, Elia Suleiman, Doraid Liddawi, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Tarik Kopty

Palestinian actor, screenwriter and director Elia Suleiman strings semi-biographical stories about being Palestinian in Israel over generations beginning in 1948. In part inspired from the journals kept by his father, the film opens in the final hours before the surrender of Nazareth, where Fuad (Saleh Bakri), a Palestinian resistance fighter is separated from Thurayya (Leila Muammar), the love of his life. By 1970, while Fuad has lost his idealism his son, ES (Zuhair Abu Hanna) is punished by the school headmaster for calling the United States colonialists. A few years later, ES (Ayman Espanioli) has to flee the country as a young adult, after the Israeli police come looking for him. And some more years later, ES (Elia Suleiman) returns to attend for his elderly mother (Samar Qudha Tanus). At once witty, poignant, sharp and innovative The Time That Remains, is Suleiman’s third film about the absurdity of being Palestinian in Israel and under the continuing occupation of the West Bank, follows Chronicle of a Disappearance and Divine Intervention also award-winning films.


The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture - AFAC was established in 2007 by cultural lobbyists as an independent initiative that funds individuals and organizations in the fields of cinema, performing arts, literature, music and visual arts while facilitating cultural exchange, research and cooperation across the Arab world and globally. Since its inception it has become internationally and regionally recognized, working with a range of reputable institutional partners, and has issued around 900 grants to date with about 150 new grants per year. AFAC is registered in Switzerland with headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Arab European Creative Platform (AECP) is a pilot multi-disciplinary special program of events, showcases, conferences and workshops that aims to address alarming realities in Europe, namely the growing ranks of displaced creative talents, and the rise of xenophobic and reactionary movements. The three-year program aspires to explore innovative and constructive actions, commissions and productions, because we are confident that establishing a platform that probes and explores imagination and expression, engages the creative and artistic communities from both Europe and the Arab world, holds keys to allaying fearful minds and hearts and shifting perceptions.
The idea is to not only to challenge terms of discourse and perceptions by providing a platform to Arab intellectuals and artists in Europe, but also to enable genuine contact and creative collaborations between Arab and European artists. Moreover, building on the success of AFAC’s public showcases, and responding to the difficulties Arab artists face with the circulation, visibility and dissemination of their work, the AECP is grounded in structured partnership with European institutions and funders to co-produce and co-present each event in the proposed program.

ALFILM Festival
ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin is the largest festival in Germany offering a platform to the diverse film cultures in the Arab world. The festival focuses on thematically and artistically outstanding films. ALFILM thus offers fresh and unfamiliar perspectives on the Arab world and the work of its filmmakers. In addition to its multifaceted program, ALFILM offers talks and panels with filmmakers, professionals and experts. Through this creative exchange it creates a cultural bridge between Germany and the Arab world, and marks an important contribution to the diversity of Berlin’s cultural landscape. ALFILM serves as a founding member to Festiwelt e.V., the association of independent Berlin film festivals. As a non-commercial film festival it has been organized annually since 2009 by the non-profit association makan — Center for Arab Film, Arts, and Culture.