Date: 26 May 2013
Sub-genre: Documentary
Actors: Ayman Mohyeldin, Sherine Tadros
Country: United States Language: Arabic, English

In 2008 two best friends found themselves trapped in one of the most dangerous places on earth – the only western journalists in the Gaza Strip on what was supposed to be a 24-hour assignment. The War Around Us captures the collision of veteran war correspondent and one of TIME's most 100 influential people, Ayman Mohyeldin, with rookie reporter Sherine Tadros. As missiles shower the city and unspeakable atrocities emerge, the pair are torn by fierce professional rivalry, private terror and grim humor – with no way out and the whole world watching. Winner of Best Documentary, Newport Beach Film Festival.

(Synopsis courtesy of the 2012 San Francisco Arab Film Festival)

Date: 26 May 2013
Sub-genre: Comedy, Documentary
Actors: Siham Abdel Messeeh, Namir Abdel Messeeh
Country: Egypt Language:

Namir is a French filmmaker whose Coptic Christian parents moved to France in 1973. One day he watches a video of the Virgin Mary's apparition with his mother who, like millions of other Copts, sees the Virgin while he sees nothing. Skeptical, Namir travels to Egypt, interviewing Christian and Muslim witnesses claiming to see the 1968 apparition. Comedic moments abound from his French producer's exasperation as Namir veers from the prescribed documentary about inter-faith violence, to wrangling with his mother, a skeptic herself about his ability to not produce another failure, "just like your last." Best Arab Documentary 2011 Doha Tribeca Film Festival. 2012 San Francisco Arab Film Festival Award, Outstanding Documentary Film.

(Synopsis courtesy of the 2012 San Francisco Arab Film Festival)

Date: 25 May 2013
Sub-genre: Documentary, War
Actors:
Country: Egypt Language: Arabic, English

Every time 22-year-old Heba Afify heads out to cover the historical events shaping her country's future, her mother is compelled to remind her, "I know you are a journalist, but you're still a girl!" Defying cultural norms and family expectations, Heba takes to the streets to report on an Egypt in turmoil, using tweets, texts and Facebook posts. Her coming of age, political awakening and the disillusionment that follows, mirrors that of a nation seeking the freedom to shape its own destiny, dignity and democracy while celebrating a cultural shift where a younger generation inspired a country to "lead themselves."

(Synopsis courtesy of the 2012 San Francisco Arab Film Festival)

Date: 25 May 2013
Sub-genre: Documentary
Actors:
Country: Spain Language: Arabic

Egypt, a country under revolution. Cairo, a mega-city with the worst traffic in the world. From a " fly on the wall" vantage point, viewers eavesdrop from the dashboard of a cab as taxi drivers and their diverse passengers talk and debate about their present, future and details that shape their daily lives. A lighter side of Egypt, captured during endless traffic jams.

(Synopsis courtesy of the 2012 San Francisco Arab Film Festival)

Date: 25 May 2013
Sub-genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actors: Hend El Fahem, Lotfi Bondka, Lotfi Abdelli
Country: Tunisia Language: Arabic, French

Aicha lives in a remote Tunisian mountain top village and dreams of a better life. After promising her the world, her boyfriend Mourad disappears and leaves Aicha in a state of confusion and despair. Meanwhile a doctor, Adam, arrives in this peaceful village to escape from the city and the stress of his profession. Soon the tranquil setting of this place will be turned upside down. With a generation that struggles with modern day ideals, religion and identity, this film portrays a moving, funny and challenging story that breaks down the barriers of today's misconceptions about Western and Arab culture.

(Synopsis courtesy of the 2011 San Francisco Arab Film Festival)

Date: 24 May 2013
Sub-genre: Comedy, Drama
Actors: Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Nadine Labaki, Yvonne Maalouf
Country: Lebanon Language: Arabic, English, Russian

On the edge of a cratered road, a cortège-like procession of women solemnly makes its way towards the village cemetery. Takla, Amale, Yvonne, Afaf and Saydeh stoically brave the oppressive midday heat, clutching photographic effigies of their beloved menfolk, lost to a futile, protracted and distant war. Some of the women are veiled, others bear wooden crosses, but all are clad in black and united by a sense of shared grief. As they arrive at the cemetery gates, the procession divides into two congregations; one Muslim, the other Christian. Set against the backdrop of a war-torn country, "Where do we go now?" tells the heart-warming tale of a group of women's determination to protect their isolated, mine-encircled, community from the pervasive and divisive outside forces that threaten to destroy it from within. United by a common cause, the women's unwavering friendship transcends, against all the odds, the religious fault lines which crisscross their society and they hatch some extraordinarily inventive, and oftentimes comical, plans in order to distract the village's menfolk and defuse any sign of inter-religious tension. A series of chaotic incidents tests the women's ingenuity as they manage, with sass, to successfully stave off the fall-out from the distant war. But when events take a tragic turn, just how far will the women go in order to prevent bloodshed and turmoil?

(Synopsis courtesy of TFF 2011)

Date: 24 May 2014
Sub-genre: Drama
Actors: Tahar Rahim, Michael Lonsdale, Mahmud Shalaby
Country: France Language: French

Inspired by actual events, this gripping wartime espionage drama tells the little-known story of Muslim freedom fighters and a mosque that sheltered Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris during WWII. When Younes, a young and barely-literate Algerian immigrant, is arrested for black marketeering, he avoids jail by agreeing to become an informant, and spy on the activities of the Paris Grand Mosque. The authorities suspect that the mosque's rector, Ben-Ghabrit, is harboring and aiding Resistance fighters, as well as clandestinely helping North African Jews by providing them with shelter, safe passage and false certificates of Muslim identity. But at the mosque, Younes befriends Salim, a charismatic Algerian singer with a surprising secret, and as Younes discovers the hidden work of the mosque, he soon finds himself having to decide where his loyalties truly lie. A tense game of cat-and-mouse ensues in this absorbing tale of political and moral awakening, as Younes shifts from collaborator to full-fledged Resistance fighter.

(Synopsis courtesy of the 2012 Calgary Jewish Film Fesitval)

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