Arab filmmakers must strive to make themselves heard to address the new realities in the region’s film industry following the epochal changes that swept the Arab world earlier this year.
So said a panel of experts during a session entitled Where Do We Go Now? at the eighth Dubai International Film Festival’s (DIFF) Dubai Film Forum held last week.
An integral part of the Dubai Film Market and the comprehensive script-to-screen initiative of DIFF, the Dubai Film Forum brings together the best minds in the regional and global film industry to discuss the newest trends, and in turn, inspire emerging filmmakers to make their mark.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, DIFF’s Dubai Film Forum’s industry panel discussion on Where Do We Go Now was addressed by Mohamad Khan (Egypt), Mourad Ben Cheikh (Tunisia), Taghreed Elsanhouri (Sudan), and Palestinian director Omar Charguawi.
They said that the sweeping social and political changes witnessed by the Arab world have also changed the dynamics of the region’s film industry. The panelists discussed new trends and concerns such as censorship of films, objectivity of content, permission to film in various Arab countries, and the release and distribution of films.
They were unanimous in their opinion that Arab filmmakers had to make themselves heard not only for the cause that they believe in but also for the emerging generation of filmmakers so they can understand the “New Reality’ in filmmaking.
Given that films promote intercultural dialogue, they said that to convey the manner in which Arab films are evolving, it was also important to engage the audiences consistently and honestly. However, they said, for a changed Arab film industry to take shape, it would take many more years to come.
DIFF is screening numerous films from the Arab world, some of them discussing in-depth the changing landscape of the region, such as: From Tunisia – Mourad Ben Cheikh’s No More Fear (La Khaoufa Baada Al “Yaoum [Plus Jamais Peur], Anouar Lahouar’s Masseur (Attaieb); From Egypt – Adham Elsherif’s Resident of the City (Ahad Sokan Elmadeena), Ahmed Ghoneimy’s Bahari, Heba Yossry’s Grandma Zad: My First Passion (Settou Zad: My First Passion), Omar El Zohairy’s Breathe Out (Zafir), and Gamil Rateb’s The Beginning (Al Bidaya); From Syria – Ammar Al-Beik’s The Sun’s Incubator (Madinat Al Shams) and Aspirin and a Bullet (Aspirin wa Rassassa); and Sudani filmmaker Taghreed Elsanhouri’s Our Beloved Sudan.