BBC Arabic announces 20 selected works that will make up this year’s BBC Arabic Festival (click here for full program). The Festival will take place in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House in Central London and runs from Friday 30 October to Monday 2 November 2015. All events are open to the public and free of charge.
Tuesday 29th September 2015// BBC Arabic today announced twenty selected works that will make up this year’s BBC Arabic Festival. The Festival will take place in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House in Central London and runs from Friday 30 October to Monday 2 November 2015. All events are open to the public and free of charge.
This year’s applicants were asked to submit work along the theme of ‘Rulers and Ruled: Power in a Changing Arab World’ and to expressly explore the struggles for power and control that continue to shake the region. The twenty final entries all showcase work that explores this theme but in a variety of different ways. Migration, exile, gender and sexuality are among the many diverse themes that feature this year.
The Festival will open with a premiere of BBC Arabic’s latest documentary, Pregnant and in Chains exposing the UAE’s strict laws surrounding sex outside marriage. The evening will be hosted by actor and comedian, Eddie Izzard.
The BBC Arabic Festival 2015 will screen works in four different categories – short films; feature documentaries; short documentaries and reportage from across the region. The winners of each category will be announced on the closing night gala, hosted by comedian Shappi Khorsandi with musical guest, the Lebanese rock group Mashrou’ Leila.
Tarik Kafala, Head of BBC Arabic said: “Whereas our first film and documentary festival focused on particular political events in the Arab world, the second takes a wider view to look at the social, generational and communal change sweeping the region. This year’s theme of power brings us a variety of stories from different locations in a range of languages. The festival’s strength is in presenting fiction and documentary films that reflect the current state of the Arab world in all its complexity.
"We are very happy, once again, to welcome to our stage a new crop of filmmakers telling these stories. We are very proud to be welcoming back the first recipient of the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award, Abdellfattah Farag, and to present his new short documentary entitled Shayma, which he produced after his training with us, at the opening ceremony of this year’s festival. The BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award is an intrinsic part of the festival, offering equipment and mentoring to the most promising filmmaker under the age of 30.
"BBC Arabic is predominantly a provider of news about the region and the world, but we are very pleased to be bringing films that tell more personal, intimate and detailed stories to the home of the BBC here in London. Last year’s attendance surpassed all expectation. Each screening was packed and audiences stayed on for the post-film discussions. We saw this as a sign of a deep interest in this form of storytelling and are hoping to build on last year’s success.”
Jason Solomons, Festival judge and Film Critic, Mail on Sunday and BBC London 94.9 said: “The average person in the London streets has certainly not seen enough Arab cinema. BBC Arabic Festival is very unique, heartening and exciting and brings something fresh to see on the big screen. I have seen enough of blockbusters to send me to sleep, I want to see fresh and original voices from somewhere Ihave never seen before and that’s what can happen at the BBC Arabic Film Festival”.