The sixth annual Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) curated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan and Festival Director Zahara Moufid, opened on Friday October 4th at the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar in Dublin. The festival was once again sponsored by the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce.
This year DAFF announced actor Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones, Hunger, The Wind That Shakes the Barley) as the event’s inaugural Festival Patron.
DAFF has proved to be a great success since its inaugural year in 2014 when movie great Omar Sharif opened the festival. Over the past four years, DAFF has attracted dedicated flim fans, directors and actors from all over the world including Dubai, Egypt and Morocco.
Ahmad Younis Secretary General and CEO of the AICC said “The Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce is happy to sponsor the Dublin Arabic Film Festival once again. The festival helps to promote the great work that Arab film makers and actors are doing and promotes Arab culture around the world. We wish the curators of the festival, Zahara Moufid and Jim Sheridan the very best of luck and look forward to yet another great festival of film and culture.”
AICC Secretary-General and CEO Ahmad Younis and Director Jim Sheridan
The festival included five films including the curtain-raiser The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, Muayad Alayan’s drama centred on the clandestine affair between a Palestinian deliveryman and an Israeli cafe owner. Stephanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff’s documentary about Saudi poet Hissa Hilal, The Poetess, and Soudade Kaadan’s Syrian drama The Day I Lost My Shadow will screen on Saturday 5th. The final two festival films, The Tower from director Mats Grorud and Nour Eddine Lakhmari’s Burnout, will hit the big screen on Sunday 6th; Burnout will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Nour Eddine Lakhmari and producer Khadija Alami. A free screening of Nora Twomey’s Oscar-nominated animation The Breadwinner will screen at Chester Beatty library at 14.00 on Saturday 5th.
AICC Chairman Enda Corneille, Actor Liam Cunningham, Raisa Corneille and Jim Sheridan
Commenting on this year’s programme, Festival President Jim Sheridan said “This year there is a common theme of displacement which runs through many of the films we have selected. We live in strange times, where it quite often seems that society is becoming less tolerant of different cultures. This festival aims to embrace difference and to encourage tolerance. It further aims to create greater understanding of the Arab world, its people and the wonderful films that are currently being made in the region. It is also a huge honour for us that two Moroccan filmmakers, director, Nour Eddine Lakhmari and producer, Khadija, Alami will also join us for the festival bringing it to a close on Sunday, 6th October. I also want to take use this opportunity to thank Zahara Moufid who co-curated this festival for her great work. We hope the audiences will enjoy the choice of the movies as much as we do.”
Jim Sheridan, Zahara Moufid and Liam Cunningham
Featuring stand-out performances from Adeeb Safadi and Sivane Kretchner, The Reports on Sarah and Saleem focuses on a clandestine affair between a Palestinian deliveryman and an Israeli café owner, both seeking to escape the pressures of their respective marriages. The two live on opposite sides of Jerusalem, and the risk of exposure comes at a great cost. When a late-night tryst in Bethlehem goes awry, the repercussions turn their romance into a minor international crisis involving the secret police, forced confessions and Saleem’s arrest in Israel under false charge
The AICC team - Colm Brennan, Enda Corneille AICC Chairman, Ali Al Abid, Ruth Spain, Orla Treacy, Sharouq Al Shayadi and Ahmad Younis Secretary-General and CEO
Speaking about the festival, IFI Director Ross Keane said, “The IFI is proud to partner with the Dublin Arabic Film Festival for its sixth edition. The programme once again showcases the strong and diverse output of Middle Eastern and North African cinemas, exploring a wide range of socially and culturally significant stories and experiences. The festival continues to play a hugely important role in our annual exhibition calendar, and we look forward to welcoming the festival and Liam Cunningham, its inaugural Patron, to the IFI this October.”
H.E. Dr. Lahcen Mahraoui Ambassador of Morocco, Sinead El Sibai, Jim Sheridan, Ahmad Younis AICC Secretary-General and CEO, Mrs. Dalia Farid and H.E. Mr. Khaled Wafik Ismail Sarwat Ambassador of Egypt
Orla Treacy AICC, H.E. Dr. Lahcen Mahraoui Ambassador of Morocco and Ruth Spain AICC
Orla Treacy, Colm Brennan AICC and Agata Kusak-Thion Fingal Dublin Chamber of Commerce
Mary Brennan and Sharouq Al Shayadi