The 9th DIAFF, an original concept and a rich and varied program

The ninth Dublin International Arab Film Festival (DIAFF) presented by Dubai Duty Free, will open on November 23 at the iconic and beautifully restored Stella Cinema in Rathmines, Dublin.

The festival is led by multi-Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan and Moroccan director and DIAFF film festival director Zahara Moufid.

Seven Arab films will be screened during the festival with the curtain up, Gaza Mon Amour being screened at Stella Cinema. The other six films will be screened at the Chester Beatty in Dublin Castle from November 24 to 26, organizers say.

The original concept of DIAFF is the brainchild of Moroccan filmmaker Zahara Moufid who approached famed filmmaker Jim Sheridan to help develop and promote an Arab film festival. Jim could see the cultural value an Arab film festival could have and agreed that Irish audiences were being deprived of the opportunity to see the best Arab films, new and old.

With Jim’s help, Zahara’s vision became a reality and the first-ever Dublin International Arab Film Festival (DIAFF) was launched at the Lighthouse Cinema in 2014. That year, legendary Egyptian actor Omar Sharif opened the festival and attended the opening night as well as hosting various filmmaking workshops that ran throughout the duration of the festival.

DIAFF has been featured and supported since its inception by Dubai Duty Free and has involved top actors, filmmakers and celebrities over the years, including international filmmakers, writers and actors. Famous faces who have supported the festival over the years include The Edge (U2), Liam Cunningham of ‘Game of Throne’ fame, actresses Amy Huberman and Fionnuala Flanagan and musician and activist Damien Dempsey.

This year, the festival will screen three Palestinian films, one Moroccan film, two Egyptian films and one interesting film, directed by five Saudi female directors from Saudi Arabia.

The opening film, Gaza Mon Amour was directed by Palestinian-born twins, Tarzan Nasser and Arab Nasser. The film is a sweet comedy-drama based on a true story set in Gaza in 2014. When a fisherman found a Greek statue of Apollo in the sea, Hamas immediately confiscated it and began to looking for a buyer, hoping to earn enough money. to solve the financial problems of the country.

No one knows what happened to the statue. Some say it was sold and then destroyed in an airstrike. It’s unclear what actually happened, but the story prompted the brothers to imagine what the statue might have become. In their story, the statue is found by a single old fisherman whose life is about to change drastically due to the magical love powers of the mysterious statue of Apollo.

Despite his country’s deeply conservative traditions, his age, and the region’s problematic politics, the old fisherman remains steadfast in his pursuit of love. The tone of the film is funny, sometimes dark, even sometimes bitter, but above all, it is tender and melancholic.

The other two Palestinian films that will be screened during the festival are The Stranger and The Idol. The Stranger is about an unlicensed doctor working in a small village in the occupied Golan Heights who helps an injured man in Syria and then ventures out to meet his new destiny. The film, The Idol follows the fictional story of Palestinian wedding singer, Mohammed Assaf, a boy who dreams of participating in the Arab Idol singing competition but has no passport or connections to travel from Gaza to Israel. Egypt.

Collapsed Walls is a Moroccan film about the residents of a small Moroccan town who struggle with their daily lives and try to carry on as they mourn the death of their loved ones.

The two Egyptian films are The Knower and Souad. It tells the story of Younis, a man who lives with his wife and baby and decides to rob a bank via the Internet but ends up caught up with a dangerous gang. Souad tells the story of a 19-year-old girl who leads a double life. Souad presents herself as a traditional, veiled young woman within her family and society, while being obsessed with her appearance on social media.

The drama occurs when her real life collides with the digital image she has created for herself.
Becomimg is one of a collection of short films made by five young Saudi female directors. The films have a common thread and investigate how young Saudi women and girls experience and deal with the daily issues and struggles they face. Topics such as arranged marriage, what it’s like to work and drive as a woman in Saudi Arabia, religion and infertility are covered in the beautifully written and shot films. Together, the film collection is powerful, thought-provoking and moving.

“We hope that DIAFF, its films, and the stories and people they portray will continue to open audiences’ eyes to other cultures, their struggles and their daily lives. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to other cultures, but film has a powerful way of sharing stories, evoking emotions, and allowing audiences to better understand and appreciate other cultures and ways of life.” underlined the president of the Festival, Jim Sheridan.

For her part, Zahara Moufid, director of DIAFF, expressed her joy and pride in the programming of this 9th edition. “We are thrilled with the diverse mix of films that will be part of this year’s festival. So many interesting themes and stories will be told. Personally, I am very proud to have the chance to show the work of five young Saudi female directors through the film Becoming”, did she say.

And to add: “As an Arab woman myself, it’s so good to see Arab filmmakers see their work made and then seen by international audiences. Becoming is a wonderful collection of beautifully made films that deserve to be seen and embraced and we know that Irish audiences will be truly blown away by the talent and skill of these young female directors. And I am very proud to add to the program a Moroccan film by director Hakim Belabas”

Colm McLoughlin Executive Vice President and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, the presenting sponsor of DAFF, for his part congratulated the organizers of the festival, saying “very impressed with this year’s program which is a wonderful collection of films from the Arab world. I would like to congratulate everyone involved and am once again delighted to have Dubai Duty Free as presenting sponsor of DIAFF for the ninth consecutive year.”

Ahmad Younis, Secretary General and CEO of the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, argued that “The AICC has been a sponsor of DIAFF since the start of the festival in 2014. During this period, we are proud to have been able to share some of our greatest successes. beloved Arab films with Irish audiences. Our involvement with DIAFF allows us to strengthen our Arab-Irish relations and helps strengthen our commercial and cultural ties. The interest and commitment to Ireland and the Arab world continues to grow”.

“We know that cinema has a unique ability to travel, cross borders and create engagement with people of all cultures in ways that other media cannot. There is a great selection of films at DIAFF this year with films from all over the Arab world including Egypt, Morocco, Palestine and Saudi Arabia and we can’t wait to see them,” he noted.

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