The Twin Cities Arab Film Festival is fast approaching! We are thrilled to be presenting this 9th edition, with many notable elements–two visiting women filmmakers, films from across North Africa and the Middle East, and an opening night reception to kick off this exciting weekend. For the first time, the festival will be at the beautifully located St. Anthony Main Theatre, co-presented by Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul.
This will be the first of four festival spotlight emails. Please dig into the schedule and plan your #ArabFilmFest weekend! Consider treating yourself to a festival pass; at $40 before the festival and $50 at the door, festival passes are a terrific deal. Buy your passes or tickets right now. And there’s still time to volunteer at the festival.
Finally, a major film festival like ours is quite ambitions. With exclusively local premieres of independent Arab cinema, a rich schedule of carefully curated films, and a mission to present the breadth and depth of current Arab cinema, our festival is a local and national treasure. Please consider donating to Mizna to support this work!
Stay tuned for more Festival Spotlights, for our cute festival trailer, and for the full festival website to go live in the next couple of days. And, see you at the #ArabFilmFest!
Directed by Laïla Marakchi
Directed by Éliane Raheb
“Éliane Raheb’s emotionally trenchant pic slices through fuzzy notions of forgiveness and reconciliation” — Variety
Who would sleep worse, the victimizer or the victim? Director Éliane Raheb mines the psychical depths of the fraught, irrevocable connection between these two positions. At its surface, the documentary is a suspenseful investigative report, linking the lives of two people: the mother of a 15-year-old Popular Guard communist militia member, missing since the 1982 Lebanese Civil War, and an ex-intelligence officer with the right-wing Lebanese Forces at the time. The officer admitted publicly to his atrocities, but can he tell the mother what she needs to know. Lensed evocatively, scored poignantly, Sleepless Nights portrays both characters with equal depth. View the trailer
Directed by Zeina Decache
“The women of Baabda Prison share their personal stories and in doing so, hold up a mirror on Lebanese society.” — Indiewire
Scheherazade, legendary narrator of 1001 Nights, here becomes any one of the female inmates of Baabda Prison in Beirut, Lebanon. Psychologist and theater and film director Zeina Dacchace’s documentary depicts an instance of drama therapy that culminates in a theatrical performance titled Scheherazade in Baabda, where twenty inmates act out their own stories and experiences in a society that restricts the rights of women. Far from dour, these women find empowerment in their sorority and seek to come to terms with their past lives and to prepare for a better future on the outside, in a different sort of prison. View the trailer
Directed by Nadia Shihab
“The unexpected portrait of one Turkmen couple moving forward in a new Iraq, where, even in the stillness of night, life is blooming.” — MBC
Amal’s Garden is an intimate and telling cinematic portrait of an elderly Turkmen couple who decide to renovate their home, an act symbolizing their commitment to continuing the long life they have led together in Northern Iraq, in the shadows of war as part of an ethnic minority. View the trailer
Screening with Rags and Tatters.