North Texas Daily

Arab film festival to feature culturally significant films

Arab film festival to feature culturally significant films

Arab film festival to feature culturally significant films
May 01
01:33 2014

Steven James // Staff Writer

UNT’s Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute will host the second annual Arab Film Festival Texas this weekend, showing culturally important Arabic films to the general public.

The festival will begin this Friday evening at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas. The festival will last from 6:30  to 10 p.m. Friday and 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Filmmaker Isabelle Stead will hold a 30-minute Q&A session Friday at 9:30 p.m. A panel discussion, “Children and Trauma,” will be held Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to match the festival’s theme of children.

A full schedule of the festival can be found here.

This is the first film festival in Texas that focuses on Arabic film and filmmakers. RTVF professor and Lebanese filmmaker Tania Khalaf started the festival last year to bring awareness of the Arabic culture to the North Texas area.

Tickets can be purchased at the theater – $5 for the general public and $30 for a festival pass – and are free to UNT students who show their student IDs. People who only buy one ticket will be allowed to only see one film.

Tickets and festival passes will not be sold in advance.

Many Arabic filmmakers submitted their films to be shown at the festival, including “In My Mother’s Arms,” “When I Saw You” and “A World Not Ours.” Most of them are either focused on children or certain problems children face.

CAMCSI logistics coordinator and art history professor Tiffany Floyd said most of the films being featured are being shown for the first time in Texas.

“It’s offering the public something they haven’t seen before,” Floyd said. “Having these films that are very rare is nice.”

She also said she hopes the festival will shed some light on different aspects of Arabic culture that most Americans probably do not know, taking away stereotypical views of the Arabic world.

“We have a certain perspective about how to view the Arabic world,” she said. “This humanizes it. The filmmakers here have some really good stories to tell.”

One of the major sponsors of the festival is UNT’s Multicultural Center, which has been trying to keep UNT and surrounding communities informed about the festival.

“This shows that UNT welcomes diversity, and that it is striving to be inclusive,” Director of Multicultural Center Programming Uyen Tran Parsons said.

She also said the festival is unique to Texas because the majority of films being shown cannot be bought in stores, so having opportunities to view them are uncommon.

“This culture is something not exposed a lot,” Tran Parsons said. “It helps to have something like this to help people to gain more knowledge about that culture. When watching the films, people get to see things out there.”

Another major sponsor of the festival is Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant. The restaurant will serve Lebanese food, drinks and desserts.

Afrah manager Ayad Elhorr said he enjoys helping out at events that educate the general public on Arabic culture.

“I hope they do another one next year,” he said. “This is good for the culture.”

Other sponsors for the festival include the Embrey Family Foundation, the UNT Media Library and the UNT Art Education and Art History departments.

If people would like to keep up with CAMCSI events, they can visit the CAMCSI Web site or visit the Arab Film Festival Texas Facebook page.

Feature photo: Arab Film Festival Texas promotional poster. Graphic courtesy of Arab Film Festival Texas Facebook Page

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