Arab cinema

Arab cinema (or Arabic cinema) refers to the cinema of the Arab world.

T E Lawrence and the Arab Revolt 1916-1918, a scene (probably a set piece for cinema representation), showing a crowd of soldiers, both local and Indian, at Wejh, a port on the Red Sea coast north of Yenbo, 1913 (First World War, Pre-1914)


There is increased interest in films originating in the Arab world. For example, films from Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestine, Syria and Tunisia are making wider and more frequent rounds than ever before in local film festivals and repertoire theaters.[1]

Arabic cinema is dominated by Egyptian movies. Three quarters of all Arab movies are produced in Egypt.


There are numerous film festivals that have historically been and are held in various parts of the Arab world to both honor and showcase films from the Arab regions, as well as international standouts.

Since 1976, Cairo has held the annual Cairo International Film Festival, which has been accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations.[2] There is also another festival held in Alexandria. Of the more than 4,000 short- and feature-length films made in Arabic-speaking countries since 1908, more than three-quarters were Egyptian.

In 1987, the inaugural Mogadishu Pan-African and Arab Film Symposium (Mogpaafis) was held, bringing together an array of prominent filmmakers and movie experts from across the globe, including other parts of Northeast Africa and the Arab world, as well as Asia and Europe. Held annually in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, the film festival was organized by the Somali Film Agency, the nation's film regulatory body.[3]

The International Film Festival of Marrakech (FIFM) is an international film festival held annually in Marrakech, Morocco. Since its inaugural year in 2000, the FIFM has been one of the biggest events devoted to Moroccan cinema. It is also the site of the principal photography of many international productions. The festival's jury gathers international writers, actors and personalities, and endeavors to reward the best Moroccan and foreign feature and short films. The FIFM is chaired by Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco.

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is an international film festival based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Launched in 2004, it aims to foster the growth of filmmaking in the Arab world.[4] The DIFF is held under the honorary Chairmanship of Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It is a not-for-profit cultural event, presented and organised by the Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority.

The DIFF presents cinematic excellence from around the world and offers a high-profile platform for aspiring home-grown talent. The Muhr Award for Excellence in Arab Cinema was launched in 2006, with the aim of recognizing Arab filmmakers both regionally and internationally. In 2008, the Muhr Awards for Excellence were expanded to include two separate competitions, the Arab Muhr Award, and the AsiaAfrica Muhr Award. It also introduced a new program segment dedicated exclusively to Animation.

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) is another key international film festival in the larger Arab region. Created in 2007, the ceremony is held annually in October in Abu Dhabi, UAE by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the ADACH. The ADFF aims to encourage and foster the growth of filmmaking in the Arab world by showcasing movies from the region alongside standout productions from prominent international filmmakers.[5] The first festival debuted with 152 movies and 186 screenings shown in five Abu Dhabi venues. A total of 76 feature films and 34 short films from over 35 countries competed for the Black Pearl Awards.

The Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) is an annual five-day film festival founded in 2009 to promote Arab and international film, and to develop a sustainable film industry in Qatar.[6] The Festival is one of Qatar's largest entertainment events attracting over 50,000 guests in 2010.[7]

DTFF is the annual film festival of the Doha Film Institute, an organisation founded by H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani[8] which implements, consolidates and oversees film initiatives in Qatar.

The 3rd annual DTFF is scheduled to take place from October 25–29, 2011 at Katara Cultural Village, Doha. Approximately 40 films will screen at the festival, within various themed sections, showcasing World and Middle Eastern Cinema.[9]

Support initiatives

In conjunction with the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE) professional training, networking and project development organization, the Dubai International Film Festival in 2010 also began offering to filmmakers the Interchange group of development and co-production workshops earmarked for directors, screenwriters and producers from the larger Arab region.[10]

In 2011, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival launched the SANAD development and post-production fund for cineastes from the Arab world. With the goal of encouraging independent and auteur-based cinema, eligible filmmakers now have access to financial grants, screenwriting and pitch workshops, and personal meetings with industry mentors and experts.[11]


Further reading

External links

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