The 9th edition of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival will take place November 6–9, 2014. For the first time, the festival is partnering with The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul and will hold all screenings at St. Anthony Main Theatre, located at 115 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN. The program (detailed below) includes Minnesota premieres and award-winning productions from Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco, Jordan, Palestine, and more.
Thursday, November 6, 2014, is opening night at St. Anthony Main Theatre, and for this year’s launch, Mizna is proud to present the romantic comedy Rock the Casbah from Moroccan director Laïla Marrakchi. When a wealthy, self-made patriarch suddenly dies, his three daughters converge upon the family’s palatial home in Tangiers for the multi-day funeral. Starring Hiam Abbas as the grief-stricken mothe, legendary Omar Sharif as the dead father’s ghost, and the acclaimed Nadine Labaki as one of the daughters, Rock the Casbah is full of passion, drama, and plenty of comic relief.
The festival will also include Factory Girl, the latest film from renowned Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Khan. The film adapts the style of the Egyptian melodrama into a story of female empowerment, as the film’s protagonist, performed splendidly by Yasmin Raeis, is sabotaged by society’s patriarchal strictures on romance. She refuses to repent for her desires of love, which the film uses to critique hypocritical discourses on virginity. Factory Girl’s form beautifully blends the Egyptian soap opera with an inspiring story of courage, romance, and female bonding.
In this year’s festival, Mizna is proud to host two Arab women directors. FilmmakerÉliane Raheb will be present for the screening of her film Sleepless Nights, which stirred up interest as one of 2013’s best and under-screened nonfiction films (see number 5). Sleepless Nights is a haunting work that asks the question, who will sleep worse: the victimizer or the victim? Raheb mines the psychic depths of a fraught, irrevocable connection between a grieving mother and the man responsible for her missing son. On the surface, Sleepless Nights is a suspenseful investigative report that links the lives of a missing 15-year-old boy, a member of the Popular Guard communist militia, and an intelligence officer who was working with the right-wing Lebanese forces at the time of the 1982 war. Sleepless Nights burrows well below the surface, as the officer is faced with the decision to give this mother the information she needs to know. We are also hosting the director Nadia Shihab with her film “Amel’s Garden,” an intimate and telling cinematic portrait of an elderly Turkmen couple who have finally come around to renovating their home, as if to reinvest in the lives they have long led in Northern Iraq, despite their residing in the shadow of war and belonging to an ethnic minority.
The 2014 Twin Cities Arab Film Festival will showcase wide-ranging and thought-provoking features, shorts, documentaries, narratives, children’s films, and abstract selections by Arab Americans and Arabs from around the world. The festival is presented by Mizna, a St. Paul–based Arab arts organization. For the past 15 years, Mizna has contributed to Twin Cities’ artistic and intellectual life by bringing underrepresented voices into a collective public space. Mizna has received national recognition for the publication of its signature literary journal (Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America), the production of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, and other local arts programming. Through these projects Mizna provides a platform for contemporary Arab American expression locating it within the American experience. Mizna is proud to be a recent winner of the Knight Foundation’s St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge.
Have questions about Mizna Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, 2014?
When & Where
St. Anthony Main Theatre
115 SE Main St
Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 6:30 PM - Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 7:30 PM (CST)
Mizna is a forum for Arab American film, literature, and art. Mizna publishes the literary journal Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America, produces the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, offers Arabic language and drumming classes, and presents the work of contemporary Arab and Arab American creatives.