ARAB FILM NIGHTS FESTIVAL CELEBRATING 10th YEAR

CALGARY – The Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society (CAACS) celebrates its 10th Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival (CAFN) between October 7 and 9 at the Globe Cinema.

CAACS has been organizing its Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival since 2013. This October 7, the 10th festival will take place at the Globe Cinema. The Festival begins with the Opening Night event “Canadian Eye on the Arab World”, featuring a screening of locally produced “Uncivilized”, a short documentary film directed by SAIT graduate, Rawd Almasoud. The short film will be followed by Canadian-made “Peace by Chocolate”, based on the true story of the Hadhad family, Syrian refugees who established the Peace by Chocolate artisanal chocolate shop. 

The festival’s opening night will be preceded by a reception hosting high profile invitees, including community leaders, partners, sponsors and artists. “We’re pleased by the support received thus far by the different levels of government”, says Mr. Moness Rizkalla, Chairperson.

The second day of the Festival will present two features, comedy “C-Section” from Lebanon, and joint European-Tunisian-Egyptian production “Sharaf”, based on the novel by Sonallah Ibrahim.

The closing night will screen a compilation of short films, including Sudanese, Egyptian and the Emerati productions, focusing on women-centered stories. CAACS is also excited to present “The Last Baron”, a locally produced short documentary about the ubiquitous Albertan fast-food institution, Burger Baron. Director Omar Mouallem will be attendance. The shorts compilation will be followed by Jordanian drama/comedy “Daughters of AbdulRahman” and Palestinian drama feature “Huda’s Salon”. 

This has been a year of exciting growth that included collaboration with local, regional and international film festivals, says Bassem Hafez, CAACS Board member. This year, we were delighted to continue our relationship with CIFF, being the community partner to the Moroccan feature, “The Blue Caftan”. CAACS is partnering as well with the Calgary European Film Festival, the Calgary Justice Film Festival and the Okotoks Film Festival screening Arab features, documentaries and shorts at the partner festivals. 

For more details please contact the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society, email: hello@caacs.ca, telephone: 4036300338 & 4036810842.

2022 – A unique year for Arab Artists

2022: A unique year for Arab Artists

by Bassem Hafez



The Arab community living in Calgary, despite being among those with the highest education, has not enjoyed a coherent front that aims for a better representation. The Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society (CAACS) has been trying to do its part. Bringing films that manifest the diverse background and character of the “Arab”, has been one of the main objectives of the different artistic products of the Society.

An example of the challenges of the how the Arab is represented has been making the distinction between the Arab and the Muslim. Another example is the fact that not all Arabs are Muslims.

The discussions after films screened by the CAACS reflect a lot to be learned. We at the society believe in the utility of the arts to ignite this civilized interaction between the different members of our public sphere. Hence, we have been hoping for the mushrooming of Arab artists to add to the Canadian cultural mosaic.

The arrival of Syrian refugees allowed for that potential. We have been witnessing the proliferation of arts expressions be Syrian newcomers, who inspired more Arabs to step forward.

During the past few years, CAACS has been proud to provide an avenue to a wide range of Syrian artists. CAACS was proud to expand its repertoire by having Syrian theatre to play during its Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival. Later on, CAACS presented a Syrian visual artist to perform live painting during the festival. Independently, in CAACS’ Pop Corn & Skype event at the Military Museum, we had a public discussion with a Syrian MRU women’s studies professor.

This year, our own Syrian theatre artist launched his dream, the Canadian Arab Theatre, Kawalease ACT. The launching brought to the forefront a potential for Arab theatre enthusiasts get inspired to perform at the first Arabic theatre production. We’re proud that the play “Interrogation” is written by one of our board members.

Hence, in our current year, 2022, an Arab theatre company is launched; our film festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary; and our board members are branching out to launch an Arabic radio station, to head the Calgary Justice Film Festival.

Among our volunteers, we are proud to play the first production of our own Rawd Almasoud, “Uncivilized” at our Canadian Eye on the Arab World, the opening night of our 10th festival.

On strategic expansion, the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society will have an Arabic feature played at the Calgary European Film Festival, CEFF. We are also having a short played at the Calgary Justice Film Festival, CJFF. In addition, we are partnering with the Okotoks Film Festival to showcase the Egyptian cinema in their upcoming round, in June 2023.

Arab members of the community are thriving artistically, and the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society, after ten years of existence, have been proudly part of these positive developments.

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Okotoks Film Festival

Call for Submissions for the Okotoks Film Festival

The Okotoks Film Festival in partnership with the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society is calling all Egyptian Short Filmmakers to submit their films for the festival.

The Okotoks Film Festival is a five-day international festival that is held annually in the town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, just south of Calgary.  We are entering our seventh year of the festival!

We are thrilled to continue to support filmmakers as well as give the opportunity for audiences and filmmakers to connect. Each year we create a short films package from a specific country. This year the selected country is EGYPT. We are looking for films that were shot in or made by filmmakers from Egypt or with Egyptian heritage.

What kind of films are we looking for?

Films in any genre shorter than 45 minutes in length and completed after Jan 1, 2017. Narrative, Documentary, art films, music videos, and any other film creation. Films will need to be presented in English or with English subtitles.

Submissions cost and deadlines:

Sept 1-19 – Early Bird submissions – Free

September 20-October 31 – Regular Submissions – $5

November 1-January 31 – Late Submissions – $10

February 1-March 31 – Late Late Submissions – $20

Feel free to reach out with any questions to our Festival director Katie. katie@okotoksfilmfestival.ca 

Please use this code: OkotoksEgypt as a waiver code for submission fees. 

Click Here to Submit Your Film

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CIFF Community Partnership


The Blue Caftan Premiering in Alberta at CIFF in Community Partnership with CAACS

CAACS and CIFF have been community partners for years. Each year, CAACS has been the community partner with CIFF supporting the Arabic film screenings scheduled during the CIFF’s festivals over the past years. 

This year, the Moroccan film, The Blue Caftan will be playing at CIFF in community partnership with CAACS. The film will be showing on September 25 & 29 at Eau Claire Cinema. 

The Blue Caftan

Click Here for Showtimes & Tickets

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Dialogue with the Diaspora webinar series

Palestinian films and Canadian solidarity: can watching help?

Webinar at 6 pm MT, Thursday, Nov 18, 2021
Film available for viewing, November 11 to 18

In the wide selection of Palestinian films which Netflix recently began to stream, some focused on Palestinian refugees outside Occupied Palestine. The situation for these refugees usually leaves viewers with as many questions as answers. When Canadians do watch, can viewing lead to deeper awareness? Is it too hopeful to think these stories might move viewers to more active forms of support? These are some of the questions under consideration in CEPAL’s first “Dialogue with the Diaspora” webinar. For those who want to know more and go deeper, this event will introduce you to a trio of speakers with long-term and varied experience in combining film and activism:

Robert Allison, Communications Director, Hamilton Voices of Palestine Film Screenings
Dania Majid, Programmer and Media Relations, Toronto Palestine Film Festival
Thomas Morgan, Producer-director of Soufra, and other films
Henry Zaccak, Moderator, President, Canadian-Palestinian Education Exchange

To register for the webinar, click here.

Soufra

After registering, you will receive a link to view the film Soufra on-line in the week prior to the webinar (film running time: 70 minutes.)

Soufra follows a group of women entrepreneurs at Burj al Barajneh camp in south Beirut. In the face of huge obstacles, they show unrelenting belief in each other, and their small business begins to take root. But the real test comes next, when they attempt to add on a food truck service which could carry business outside of their camp. 
There is a free viewing option, thanks to the generous sponsorship of PSN Edmonton and Just Peace Advocates.

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Rough Year: COVID

Rough Year: COVID

Covid has been a big challenge to the cinema industry around the world. We at the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society struggle in 2020 with securing good artsy productions, enduring partnerships, limited cinema seating capacities, new online screening platforms, and of course funding.

However, we endured and persisted!

We succeeded with our 8th festival, and added an online screening component that got us new audience base outside of Calgary.

But hearing about similar struggles at the end of like-minded partners, we started thinking about changes in 2021 as we anticipated that the covid era was to endure.

Re-Structuring & Re-Focus

The ideas we had revolved around extending our partnerships with other bigger organizations to engage new audience and to learn new techniques of survival. The Calgary International Film Festival, CIFF, was at the forefront of our partners with whom we had previous community partnerships over the past years.

For this year, 2021, we were the community partner with CIFF on two very influential movies that would’ve fit in our usual offerings:

In addition, we have been in talks with other community organizations both in Calgary and surrounding cities to follow suit and have them play the following titles:

  • Feathers

  • Peace by Chocolate

In addition, we have been in talks with other community organizations both in Calgary and surrounding cities to follow suit and have them play the following titles:

  • Une Histoire D’amour Et De Desir

    Follows Ahmed, an 18-year old, French of Algerian origin, who meets Farah, a young Tunisian girl. He discovers a collection of sensual and erotic Arab literature and falls in love with Farah and he tries to resist the desire.

  • Bilal: A New Bread of Hero

    Over 1,000 years ago, a boy with dreams of being a great warrior and his sister are abducted and taken to a faraway land. Growing up in a world of greed and injustice, he finds the courage to make a change.

  • Costa Brava

    A couple decide to leave the toxic pollution of their home city of Beirut, hoping to build a utopian existence in a pristine home in the mountains.

Plan

So far, we were successful on the front of CIFF .. the films were success and CAACS was able to market them via our partner, REDFM Calgary Arabia. Our CAACS board member and radio host, Noha Mohamed, was able to direct our audience to the partnership with CIFF through which our friends can watch the offerings.

We realized the big buzz around the film, Feathers, once it was screened at the Gouna Film Festival. The politically charged atmosphere surrounding screening the award-winning film in Egypt made it clear that the controversy will continue in Calgary, especially that it won the Best Picture Award.

Earlier, the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society sponsored the attendance of Noha Mohamed to the Festival De Cannes. There, Noha had an exclusive interview with Omar Zoheiry, the Director of Feathers.

Execution

In less than a week, CAACS was able to secure the screening rights of Feathers and booked our partners, The Globe, on November 19.

We decided that a politically charged debate after the Award Winning film, should be complimented by a light movie, preferably a commercial comedy.

This invited a light option that was recently released in Egypt, Mama Hamel (Arabic for mom in pregnant)

Once we secured the double feature, we started advertising, and hope it can be a night to remember.

Future Projects

CAACS is currently in talks with filmmakers across the nation to produce something about Arab roots in Canada. Simultaneously, CAACS is also in talks with the national standup comedy HQ to renew cooperation with hopes of bringing Arab standup comedians to the stage of the YukYuks.

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ARAB FILM NIGHTS FESTIVAL CELEBRATING 7th YEAR

CALGARY – The Calgary Arab Art and Culture Society has pulled out all the stops in celebration of its seventh year of the Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival – October 18-20, 2019 at Globe Cinema.

“As always, we are very excited about the rapidly approaching Arab Film Nights 2019,” says Executive Director Moness Rizkalla. “The films that we selected to screen this year perfectly match the festival’s objectives and what our dedicated festival goers look for, which is to show everyday life in, and the diversity across, the Arab world.

This year’s festival includes the fifth consecutive year of ‘Canadian Eye on the Arab World’ which is a goal to at least have one movie in the festival that is Canadian made and is about the Middle East or Canadian Arabs. This year, we’re presenting Wall on October 20th, a National Film Board of Canada by Cam Christiansen”

“The weekend’s film program will have something for every taste, from documentaries like Wajd: Songs of Separation by Amar Chebib – a musical documentary of Syrian/Canadian production, and award-winning features ranging from the comedic to the very serious. Something unique to this year’s program is that we’re presenting Dachra, a Tunisian horror movie, screening on the late evening of Saturday, October 19th” adds Rizkalla. 

For tickets and more information, visit calgaryarabartssociety.ca.

For Media Inquiries:
Noha Mohamed, Director of Marketing
587-892-1477 noha@redfm.ca

Facebook – Calgary Arab Arts and Culture Society
Instagram – yyc_arabarts
Twitter – yyc_arabarts

The Calgary Arab Art & Culture Society is a not-for-profit society made up of progressive Arab-Canadian professionals, business people and friends. The Society’s goal is to share with Calgarians a fuller, more realistic, side to life in the Arab world. The Society’s activities include wide range of cultural events with a focus on different types of arts like music, comedy, poetry and more.

ARAB NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATING FIFTH YEAR

The Calgary Arab Art and Culture Society has pulled out all the stops in celebration of its fifth year of the Arab Nights Film Festival.

“As always, we are very excited about the rapidly approaching Arab Film Nights 2016,” says Executive Director Moness Rizkalla. “The films that we selected to screen this year perfectly match the festival’s objectives and what our dedicated festival goers look for, which is to show everyday life in, and the diversity across, the Arab world.

This year’s festival includes the second consecutive year of the Canadian Eye on the Arab World night May 11 featuring two National Film Board of Canada films: Edmonton director Nisreen Baker’s Things Arab Men Say and Grassroots in Drylands. ‘

“The weekend’s film program will have something for every taste, from documentaries like the sociopolitical Tickling Giants, and features ranging from the comedic to the very serious,” adds Rizkalla. 

Special guests this year include Baker, and star Zeid Hamdan of documentary Yallah Underground. Hamdan is representing two films as he was also the composer for Sunday’s closing film Barakah Meets Barakah. Tickling Giants Bassem Yousef will also be available for a video Q&A session on May 12.

For tickets and more information, visit calgaryarabartssociety.ca.

For Media Inquiries:
Kelsey Hipkin
kmhipkin@gmail.com
4
03-700-8698

Twitter – yyc_arabarts
Facebook – Calgary Arab Arts and Culture Society
Instagram – yyc_arabarts

The Calgary Arab Art & Culture Society is a not-for-profit society made up of progressive Arab-Canadian professionals, business people and friends. The Society’s goal is to share with Calgarians a fuller, more realistic, side to life in the Arab world. The Society’s activities include wide range of cultural events.

Arab Film Nights 2016 sets record attendance numbers

With an added night and a bazaar in support of Syrian refugees, the Calgary Arab Art and Culture Society’s 2016 film festival was its most successful to date.

This year’s lineup of films included the addition of an extra evening April 28 – CanadianEye on the Arab World – with Oscar-nominated Incendies and the critically acclaimed Inch’Allah. Films such as On the Bride’s Side showed a timely relevance with events unfolding in Syria and beyond. And art and cinematography was showcased in films like Nefertiti’s Daughters and Atlantic.

Leading up to the film festival, the Calgary Arab Art and Culture Society held a number of events at local post-secondary institutions screening Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. The film was also screened April 29 and Calgary’s own Colin Curwen of New Machine Studios was in attendance to discuss his involvement with the film. Curwen was not the only special guest, as panels and discussions also included Atlantic director JanWillem van Ewijk, Raja Khouri of the Canadian Arab Institute and Luke Azevedo with Calgary Economic Development.

On closing night Sunday, art and wares were featured in a bazaar with all proceeds going to Syrian refugees. The Calgary Arab Art & Culture Society is a notforprofit society made up of progressive ArabCanadian
professionals, business people and friends. The Society’s goal is to share with Calgarians a fuller, more realistic, side to life in the Arab world. The Society’s activities include wide range of cultural events.

Inquiries for next year’s festival and other CAACS events can be directed to:

Kelsey Hipkin, CAACS board secretary

kmhipkin@gmail.com

403-700-8698

Arab Film Nights 2016

Friday April 29 , Saturday April 30 & Sunday May 1
Festival Hall Calgary

Opening Night Calgary Premiere: Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, An Animated Feature starring Liam Neeson and Salma Hayek Other Films to be Announced

Film Synopsis: VIEW HERE            Official Trailer: VIEW HERE

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