Just two Arab films make the cut at Cannes

Not a single Middle Eastern film was selected for the four main sections of the festival
Just two Arab films make the cut at Cannes
By Salma Awwad
Thu 15 May 2014 02:55 PM

Although eight Arab films will be screened at the 67th Cannes Film Festival, only two made it into the official selection.

The first is Omar El Zohairy's The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375. This is the first time an entry from Egypt made it to the Cinefondation section for student films.

The second film is Ossama Mohammad’s Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait from Syria, screening outside the competition.

Not a single Arab film made was selected into the four main Cannes sections of the Official Competition, Un Certain Regard, Director’s Fortnight and Critics’ Week.

But in a bid to boost the chances of Arab films being selected by international festivals, twofour54 creative lab will show five short films from the UAE’s filmmakers.

The films will be shown in the “Best of Arabic Short Films by twofour54” section of the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival, which will take place from 14 to 25 May. The event gives young filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a worldwide film audience.

“We are excited and proud to see talented Arab filmmakers participating in global events that highlight the development of the film industry in the Middle East and Abu Dhabi in particular,” said Maryam Al Mheiri, Chief Operating Officer of twofour54.

Another movie, Kaouther Ben Hania's mockumentary Challat of Tunis from Tunisia will be screened at the ACID, a program outside the official selection set up to assist filmmakers find theatrical distribution.

Cannes remains the pantheon every filmmaker dreams of reaching and UAE’s media organisations all united to showcase at the UAE Pavillion -  Delegates from twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) and Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) are attending the event.

The pavilion will also be hosted by representatives of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), as well as the Dubai Film Market (DFM) and Gulf Film Festival.

Under one umbrella, they are hoping to build bridges, attract international projects and captivate a worldwide film audience.

“Cannes is an excellent platform to build awareness of what is happening in the UAE, and by working together we can show that the emergence of a regional media and entertainment hub in the UAE is not just an idea – it’s already happening. We take pride in highlighting to the world that our leadership and the entire country are behind our talent and production, through the UAE Pavilion. Cannes is a great opportunity for audiences to experience Arab Films,” said Ali Al Jabri, director of ADFF.

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