The eighth annual Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) curated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Jim Sheridan and film director, Zahara Moufid, will run online from the 8th-12th of December 2021. Six feature length and eight short Arab films will be shown on www.dublinarabicfilmfestivalonline.com
Zahara Moufid and Jim Sheridan established DAFF in 2014 in a bid to allow Irish audiences the opportunity to enjoy some of the best new and classic Arab films ever made. The festival, which has been presented and supported since its inception by Dubai Duty Free, has had some very high-profile actors, filmmakers and celebrities involved with it over the years. Legendary, actor Omar Sharif launched the inaugural edition of DAFF in 2014. Other famous faces who have supported the festival over the years have included The Edge, actress Fionnuala Flanagan, singer Damien Dempsey and Liam Cunningham of ‘Game of Throne’s’ fame.
This year, the festival has included several films which explore the lives of Arab women who are often restricted by the confines of their own families and the society in which they live. These films not only shine a light on the lives of Arab women but also gives audiences the chance to see the work of some of the most prominent female Arab filmmakers.
Palestinian features include two fantastic feature films Emwas: Restoring memories and Roshmia, a feature documentary by Salim AuJabal Emwas: Restoring memories is a personal film that follows the journey of the director, Dima Abu Ghoush, as she rebuilds her demolished hometown from the memories of its people.
Roshmia is about an elderly Palestinian refugee couple in a final standoff with the Israeli authorities to maintain their lifestyle in Roshmia, the last natural valley in Haifa. Yousef and his wife Amna, who originally descends from the gypsies of Palestine, have lived in a shack all alone in their eighties since 1956 in what seems to be a life of serenity, far away from the loudness of modern life. Life remains peaceful in Roshmia until the Israeli authorities endorse a new road project and order to confiscate their land, demolish their shack and throw them out.
Audiences will also be treated to two Egyptian features films by filmmakers Amir Ramses and Ahmed Rashwan. A selection of short films throughout the festival will showcase some great new emerging talent including work by young Moroccan filmmaker, Abdelali Debbagh.
One of the highlights of the festival this year is the film, Chaïbia, directed by Youssef Britel which tells the true store of Chaïbia Talal, the famous Moroccan painter who spends her childhood and adolescence in poverty. Illiterate and poor her life is cruel and hard. She was married and widowed with a child by the age of 15 after her family forced her to marry a 70-year-old man. The artist, whose colourful and abstract works have been likened to those of Pablo Picasso is considered to be one of the greatest Moroccan painters of the 20th century. Her style depicted women through vibrant displays of colour and established her as one of Morocco’s most well-known and respected artists. This movie is screened for the francophone audience in Ireland, free of charge.
Two special film screenings have been sponsored by the DAFF cultural partner, the Chester Beatty Library and they include ‘It Must Be Heaven’ and ‘Luxor’ which will both be free to watch on the Dublin Arabic Film Festival website.
Jim Sheridan, DAFF President said, “The medium of film provides us with an escape mechanism and in these strange times it’s important to be able to escape, even in our minds and even if just for a short time. We were very hopeful to have the event in person this year, but unfortunately due to Covid it is once again a virtual affair. However, even though people can’t few these films in person in the cinema our films can still be enjoyed online by our virtual audience from the comfort of their own home. We hope DAFF, its films and the stories and people they portray will continue to inspire audiences and help bring a welcome and creative distraction from the current situation.” Zahara Moufid, DAFF Director added, “The main goal of the festival this year is to give a voice to Arab women and to female Arab filmmakers, we hope the films and the stories they tell will let their work be seen and their voices be heard”.
Colm McLoughlin Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, the presenting sponsor of DAFF offered his congratulations to the festival organisers and said, “I am very impressed with the innovation and determination shown by both Jim Sheridan and Zahara Moufid in proceeding with DAFF in these challenging times. I would like to congratulate all involved and am once again delighted that Dubai Duty Free is the presenting sponsor of DAFF for the eighth year running.”
Ahmad Younis, Secretary General and CEO of the Arab- Irish Chamber of Commerce said, “The AICC has been a sponsor of DAFF since the festival began in 2014. During this time, we have been proud to have been able to share some of our most beloved Arab films with Irish audiences. Our involvement with DAFF allows us to strengthen our Arab- Irish relationships and helps strengthen both our business and cultural ties. I have just returned from Expo in the UAE where Ireland has been on the world stage promoting our culture and business prowess. The interest and engagement with Ireland and the Arab world is growing all the time and we know that film has a unique ability to travel, to cross borders and to create an engagement with people of all cultures in a way that other mediums cannot. There is a great selection of films at DAFF this year with films from all over the Arab world including Egypt, Morocco, Palestine and the UAE to mention but a few and we look forward to viewing them”.
For more information please see www.dublinarabicfilmfestival.com
Films cost €7 per film, or a digital season pass can be purchased from the DAFF website for €15.