Arts & Events

Arab Film Festival Comes to East Bay

By ken bullock
Thursday October 23, 2008 - 10:18:00 AM

The 12th Annual Arab Film Festival, the first festival of its kind and most ambitious exhibitor of films from the Arabic-speaking world and Arab diaspora, already running in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles, starts its East Bay screenings this week in Berkeley and Oakland, featuring several films that have won awards at the Beirut International Film Festival, two weeks ago, and at the second annual Noor Awards for the Arab Film Festival’s opening night at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco last Thursday. 

Featuring independent films from over 15 different countries, including those of the Maghreb and Middle East, including Palestine, wartorn Iraq and the first film shot in Bahrain, the festival also gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to the late Egyptian producer-director and pioneer of Arabic film, Youssef Chahine. There are films by Arabic women, including an SF State alumna Mai Masri (33 Days, Lebanon). About 10 filmmakers are expected to attend, including Kasim Abid (After the Fall) and Jackie Salloum (Slingshot Hip Hop). 

Tonight (Thursday), Paloma Delight (Nadir Mokneche, Algeria; Noor Award, Best Full-Length Fiction Film), will play at 9 p.m. at the Parkway Theater, 1834 Park Blvd., near Lake Merritt in Oakland, before running Fri. Oct. 24 to Sun. Oct. 26 at Shattuck Cinemas, 2230 Shattuck Ave.  

Slingshot Hip Hop, a Sundance 2008 winner that just won both the audience award and best director (Jackie Salloum, Palestine) at Beirut, will play Friday at 7 p.m. at Shattuck Cinemas, as will The TV Is Coming (9:30 p.m.) 

On Saturday at Shattuck Cinemas, 11 films will be shown, starting at noon. On Sunday, again from noon, seven films will play. Other showings will continue through next Tuesday at venues in San Francisco, such as the Alliance Francaise, the Arab Cultural & Community Center and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, including the award-winner, Life After the Fall (Kassim Abbid, Iraq), Noor Award, Best Long Nonfiction Film.  

On Sunday, at 2 p.m. at the Shattuck Cinemas, there will be a special event co-sponsored by Sunbala (Arab Feminists for Change), a panel discussion with Yemeni filmmaker Khadija Al-Salami after a screening of her documentary, Amina.  

(415) 564-1100 or Admission: $12 (Seniors/Students $10). Festival passes are available.