Calgary Arab Film Nights – 11th Edition
The Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society chose to go ahead with our 11th annual Calgary Arab Film Nights, despite challenging times and the decisions by like minded organizations to postpone or cancel their upcoming film festivals.
The decision was reached after deliberations amongst board members and discussion with different partners and the community. It is a commitment by CAACS to give voice to Arab arts and culture, and this commitment is reflected in the Society’s mission & vision. Therefore, we felt it may be welcome to present Arab voices and stories in a time when they are especially needed.
Due to the devastating developments in Gaza, we made last minute adjustments to our festival program. We reconsidered the previously chosen Palestinian film selection and determined that it was not the most suitable choice in the current circumstances. This decision was reinforced by the distributor postponing the film’s digital and on-demand release. We were fortunate to be able to replace the film with three short animated films by Palestinian filmmaker Ahmad Saleh. The films form a trilogy, starting with HOUSE, which gives general overview and context of Palestinian struggle, and then with films AYNY and NIGHT, devastating and beautifully told stories of people within that struggle.
CAACS was also committed to supporting the victims of the earthquake in Morocco on September 8, 2023. Our partners at the Oujda International Film Festival in Morocco graciously donated a Moroccan film which CAACS screened and donated the proceeds of. We also collected donations at the screening.
In partnership with Ojda International Film Festival, Moroccan comedy film ‘Pour La Cause’ presented the predicament of a Palestinian individual who finds himself caught in a ‘No Man’s Land’ between the borders of Morocco and Algeria. He is faced with the administrative challenges of traveling as a Palestinian, but also meets many people along the way who are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. The film portrayed humorous scenarios while also conveying more serious themes.
CAACS is very proud of our 11th festival and program selections. We are Arabs with a vision to build bridges, deepen understanding and relationships, and accordingly advance a more equitable society through presenting Arab art. This belief in the power of arts to provoke thought, evoke emotions, and promote emphatic understanding is what keeps the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society moving.