Arabian Sights Film Festival in Washington, DC

Please note the correction to the location of the film screenings:
All screenings will be held at the AMC Loews Dupont Circle 5 located at 1340 19th St., NW except the opening film. Take Metro Red Line to Dupont Circle, South exit.
Opening Film Only: Avalon Theatre: 5612 Connecticut Ave., NW. Street parking available.
Washington, DC | October 22, 2007 | |The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is pleased to co-sponsor the 2007 Arabian Sights Film Festival featuring contemporary Arab Cinema will take place October 26 — November 4 in Washington, DC. The Eleventh Annual Arabian Sights Film Festival offers a diverse selection of the newest, most provocative, and inspiring films from today’s Arab world. These films show the range and commitment of directors, several of whom will be present at their screenings, who invariably manage to tell moving stories while exploring issues facing their region. All films will be screened with English subtitles. An Audience Award for favorite film will be presented.
All films are screened with English subtitles. Arabian Sights 2007 is programmed by Shirin Ghareeb, Assistant Director of the Washington, DC International Film Festival, and is coordinated by Regan Spurlock, Coordinating Assistant of the Washington, DC International Film Festival. To view the brochure, see:
For more information on this series call 202-724-5613 or go to
Ticket price for each showing is $9.00 per person and may be purchased at the theater starting one hour before the first show. A special film festival package of 10 tickets is available for $81.00 (This package does not include the October 26 screening of Caramel); passes may be reserved by calling 202-724-5613.
AMC Loews Dupont Circle 5: All screenings will be held at this location except the opening film. 1340 19th St., NW. Take Metro Red Line to Dupont Circle, South exit.
Avalon Theatre: (Opening Film only) 5612 Connecticut Ave., NW. Street parking available.
Parking for the AMC Loews is available at garage opposite the theatre on 19th St. for $10.00 after 5:45 pm with mention of Arabian Sights on Fridays and Saturdays only. Street parking is also available.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Mosaic Foundation, Center for the Global South, American University, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, The Jerusalem Fund, The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, The Georgetown Design Group, Inc., DC Internationals and Ross Kaplan, WAMU 88.5FM–The Official Radio Station of Filmfest DC
Special Thanks To Jared Traver, Shipping Coordinator; Tuan Tran, Webmaster; Mary Pettigrew, Ampersand Graphic Design, LLC; Mary Sadek and Sahar Sherbini, Egyptian film liasons.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: or call 202-724-5613
6:30pm: Caramel (Avalon Theatre, $10.00)
6:30pm: Beirut Diaries shown with After Shave
6:30pm: Zaina: Rider of the Atlas
8:30pm: Kicks
8:45pm: Downtown Girls
4:00pm: Short Cuts
6:00pm: Downtown Girls
6:30pm: Kicks
8:00pm: Zaina: Rider of the Atlas
8:30pm: Beirut Diaries shown with After Shave
6:30pm: Operation Filmmaker
6:30pm: VHS Kahloucha (Tarzan of the Arabs)
8:30pm: Making Of
8:45pm: Driving to Zigzigland
4:30pm: Driving to Zigzigland
6:30pm: Al Boum
7:00pm: Reel Bad Arabs
9:00pm: Cut & Paste
9:00pm: Operation Filmmaker
4:15pm: Short Cuts
6:00pm: Making Of
6:30pm: Cut & Paste
8:15pm: VHS Kahloucha (Tarzan of the Arabs)
8:30pm: Al Boum
Nadine Labaki
France/Lebanon, 2007, 96 minutes
In her gorgeous and love-affirming feature debut — which was the sleeper hit of this year‘s Cannes Film Festival — Director and Star Nadine Labaki finds gold in the hot goo used for waxing. Set in and around a Beirut beauty salon, Caramel stirs together the smooth and the crunchy of five women‘s lives. Nisrine is a spirited bombshell on the verge of marrying a conservative Muslim. Jamale, an aging actress, goes to absurd lengths to hold back time. Rima suppresses her attraction to other women, until her own dream girl walks through the door. Seamstress Rose deflects the attentions of a gentleman suitor to care for her older sister. And Layale, the owner and lifeblood of the salon, carries on a hopeless — but very satisfying — affair with a married man. This is characteristic of a new kind of film coming from Lebanon, one that looks past war and politics to the eternal truths of love and passion.
Al Boum
Khalid al Zadjali
Oman, 105 minutes
In Person: Director Khalid al Zadjali
Picturesque vistas and a tight-knit community, little seen by the rest of the world, construct the framework for the first feature film from Oman. The serene inhabitants of a small coastal town, steeped in tradition, have always made their living from fishing and boat-building. When a young fisherman suddenly and mysteriously goes missing, local superstition compounded with the threat of urbanization challenge not only the town‘s peaceful existence but also its livelihood. Friends and family of the missing boy patiently wait as the rest of the locals confront their futures.
Beirut Diaries: Truth, Lies and Videos
Mai Masri
Lebanon, 2006, 76 minutes, digital betacam
Seasoned director Mai Masri‘s latest documentary, Beirut Diaries, follows socially and politically active Nadine Zeidan and her friends in the tumultuous period following the February 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This young, enthusiastic assembly looks past their individual sectarian differences to camp, protest and celebrate together under the mutual sentiment of “our religion is Lebanon.” But in Beirut, where the political climate and international relations shift at an alarmingly accelerated rate, the parties who had initially urged the protesters to make their voices heard, now focus their attentions elsewhere. Masri deftly depicts a fiercely emotional moment in time in the ever-changing Beirut atmosphere through patriotic Nadine and her hope for her country.
Shown with:
After Shave
Hany Tamba
Lebanon, 2005, 22 minutes
Since the Lebanese Civil War and the consequential destruction of his barbershop, Abou Milad practices his profession in local cafes. Milad‘s situation changes when a wealthy recluse requests his services.
Cut & Paste
Hala Khalil
Egypt, 2006, 105 minutes
Hala Khalil‘s second film after the wildly popular The Best of Times, (Arabian Sights, 2005), kicks off with the chance meeting of Gamila and Youssef in the apartment of a stranger – she‘s there to bargain down the price of a harp for immediate resale and, hopefully, a substantial profit and he‘s there to hawk a satellite dish. For years Gamila has been saving up and ticking off requirements to qualify for immigration to New Zealand. Three more points on her application and Gamila will qualify for immigration, and, coincidentally enough, marriage is worth three points. Youssef, with no future plans or aspirations, and, inspired by Gamila‘s visions of New Zealand, seems to be the perfect candidate for the role of husband. Their intertwining life stories and those of their idealistic family members, quirky friends and disheartened neighbors present a disillusioned middle-class Egypt.
Downtown Girls
Mohamad Khan
Egypt, 2005, 93 minutes
In Mohamed Khan‘s latest comedy, two liberated young women work, love and commute in contemporary Cairo. Friends Jumana and Yasmin, a retail associate and a hairdresser respectively, together hop the Cairo metro daily to and from work. Their commute is not simply transportation; it‘s also social hour and dating-market. On the train they meet Osman, a chef, and Samir, a cell-phone salesman and the subsequent relationships that emerge challenge all parties‘ values and priorities. Both women know their place in Egyptian society as working, middle-class women, but cleverly and subtly challenge the system in small but eloquent ways.
Driving to Zigzigland
Nicole Ballivian
USA/Palestine, 2006, 92 minutes
In Person: Director Nicole Ballivian, Star Bashar Da’as
Professional actor Bashar left the stage in Ramallah for the silver screen of Los Angeles only to find that breaking into the industry in Hollywood in any other role than terrorist is nearly impossible. Between fruitless auditions Bashar makes ends meet with his meager returns as a cabbie. The interactions between him and his occasionally ignorant passengers further feed his frustrations in post 9/11 America and provoke him to tell folks that he is from Zigzigland. This entertaining film is based on true stories and was shot in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Los Angeles. Driving to Zigzigland is DC native and AU alum, Nicole Ballivian‘s first feature film.
Albert ter Heerdt
The Netherlands, 2007, 112 minutes
A follow-up to Albert ter Heerdt‘s hit comedy Shouf Shouf Habibi! (Arabian Sights, 2005), Kicks offers a slightly more serious vista of a country adjusting to a growing multicultural society. Simmering racial tensions fester and pop in circumstances both critical and comical in modern day Holland. Moroccan-Dutch policewoman trainee Aaliyah frets over her reaction to witnessing her racist, native Dutch partner Frank shooting a Moroccan boy in supposed self-defense. The older brother of the victim, Said, a popular kick-boxer, takes much flack from young Moroccans for his blond girlfriend. The friends and family of these individuals compose the vast and diverse cast, including a capricious, upper-crust woman who longs to meet a genuine immigrant, her arrogant boyfriend an exploitative filmmaker, a Moroccan-Dutch soldier struggling with his conservative views of women and a pair of French-speaking ladies of the night.
Making Of
Nouri Bouzid
Tunisia, 2006, 115 minutes
With no job, an unstable relationship, and a daily schedule of break-dancing and disturbing the peace, 25-year-old Bahta‘s life isn‘t going anywhere. The recent US invasion of Iraq has stifled the facility of travel to Europe — the only option Bahta had to escape Tunisia. In his misguided idleness, he dons his cousin‘s police uniform and, feeling entitled to respect, prances around the local watering-hole. Subsequently, he is on the lamb and ushered into hiding by the only group that will take him: fundamentalists, who have singled him out for his rebellious ways. Shortly thereafter the actor playing Bahta, Lotfi Abdelli, who never read the film‘s script, fully realizes the extremist direction in which his character is headed and wishes to quit the film. He signed on as a break-dancer, not a terrorist. Director Nouri Bouzid enters the take in an attempt to counter his actor‘s reluctance and complete the film.
Operation Filmmaker
Nina Davenport
USA, 2007, 92 minutes
Not long after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, MTV aired a documentary about Muthana, a 25-year-old Baghdad film student. Muthana had a winning smile and indomitable spirit, but his film school had been bombed to pieces. American actor Liev Schreiber saw the MTV piece while preparing to direct his first feature and invited Muthana to join the production of Everything Is Illuminated in the Czech Republic. It seemed like a dream come true, a story of bridging cultures, so documentary director Nina Davenport went along to film it. The results are often harrowing. Muthana has difficulty managing personal as well as professional tasks and starts to fear for his safety if he returns to Baghdad. His patrons reach the limits of their charity. Everyone‘s motives are questioned, including documentary makers. Are there lessons to be learned? The unintended consequences are too messy and situational to say for sure. But in this mix of tragedy and farce, Davenport perfectly captures the follies of our times. —Toronto International Film Festival
Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People
Sut Jhally
USA, 2006, 50 minutes
In person: Dr. Jack Shaheen
Reel Bad Arabs scrutinizes Hollywood‘s relentless demonization of Arabs and Muslims on the big screen from the first black & white flicks to the blockbuster movies of recent years. This documentary features acclaimed author and Hollywood film consultant Dr. Jack G. Shaheen and his extensive research and shocking revelations on how Hollywood depicts Arabs. If there is an Arab character in a film, he most likely portrays not just a bad guy, but a bad guy engineered by Hollywood as a grotesque caricature. We‘ve seen them numerous times: the slimy, conniving sheikh, the Bedouin bandits and the wild-eyed renegade wielding his AK-47.
Short Cuts from the Arab World
A hand-picked selection of shorts from Arab and Arab-American filmmakers (various formats).
Arab in America
Nabil Abou-Harb
USA, 2007, 15 minutes
In person: Director Nabil Abou-Harb on November 4
Recent college-graduate Osama “Sam” Ahmad Abou-Bakr enters the post 9/11 American work force only to find that, unless he disguises his heritage, negative stereotypes dictate his opportunities.
Cinema 500km
Abdallah al Eyaf
Saudi Arabia, 2006, 42 minutes
Tariq Al-Husaini is a 21 year-old film fanatic who has never been to a movie theater in his life. Why? there aren’t any in his country. Determined to ‘go to the movies’, Tariq must obtain a passport and make the 500 kilometer trek to Bahrain.
The Dead Won’t Mind
Emad Mabrouk
Egypt, 2007, 10 minutes
While guarding a bicycle for his pal, a young boy receives an unexpected offer from a group of men arranging a funeral procession.
Kemo Sabe
Rana Kazkaz
USA, 2006, 13 minutes
The playground is divided between the Cowboys and the Indians; one’s assigned allegiance seems based on appearance and attire. Six-year old Yussef longs to switch sides, but are blue-jeans and a belt all he needs to become a Cowboy?
On a Monday
Tamer El Said
Egypt, 2004, 8 minutes
Through the observation of each other’s mundane activities, a middle-aged couple, uncovers profound mutual affection in their marriage.
Sari’s Mother
James Longley
USA, 2006, 21 minutes
This touching short is composed of extra footage of James Longley’s Oscar-nominated documentary Iraq in Fragments (Filmfest DC 2006).
A World Apart Within 15 Minutes
Enas Muthaffar
Palestine, 2006, 3 minutes
A woman drives around Jerusalem asking strangers for directors to Ramallah only to find that the short geographic distance is not the only thing separating the two cities.

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