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8 Arab Films Selected At The Palm Springs International ShortFest 2020

Fancy a short film marathon?

Congrats! From over 6,000 submissions from 69 countries, 8 films from within the Arab region are qualified for selection at the annual Palm Springs International Shortfest this year. 

Though the annual event is taking place virtually due to the current pandemic, the Palm Springs International ShortFest is the biggest event for short films in America and will be taking place from June 16th – 22nd during which there will be curated screenings, and classes and panels led by film industry experts.  

If you’ll be tuning in to the festival dedicated to short films from all over the world, these are the Arab movies to look out for: 

1 of 8
Arabian Alien (Saudi Arabia)

A submission from Saudi Arabia, Arabian Alien, explores the science fiction genre. The short film tells a romantic tale of a married Muslim man who is battling depression when he unexpectedly meets a space alien in the desert. The work of Saudi filmmaker, Meshal Al Jaser, first debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is currently competing for the Best of the Festival award, which would then be eligible for submission to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration if announced the winner. 

2 of 8
Soukoon (Lebanon)

Lebanese director Farah Shaer highlights the anxieties of a young woman who is worried she may be pregnant whilst trying to deal with the consequences of the breakdown of her marriage. The film Soukoon premiered at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival in Colorado and is in the running for the Best of the Festival Award and the Best Student International Short. Farah Shaer is a self-proclaimed activist who uses her work to amplify the voices of Arab women. 

3 of 8
Give Up The Ghost (Jordan)

Give up the Ghost is the latest film offering from Jordanian director Zain Duraie which explores social commentary on gender roles within the Arab region. The La Biennale di Venezia premiere and Gold Star winner of Best Arab Short Film at the El Gouna Film Festival, Give Up The Ghost is competing for Best Live-Action Short Over 15 minutes.  

4 of 8
Henet Ward (Egypt)

Henet Ward is a drama that highlights the life of a Sudanese henna artist and her daughter that live in Egypt and are helping a bride prepare for her forthcoming nuptials. Morad Mostafa’s debut short is competing for Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes.  

5 of 8
Stallions Of Palestine (Palestine)

Stallions Of Palestine is a 30-minute documentary by American filmmaker, Elise Coker, which follows the lives and hardships of a Palestinian family of horse breeders. Their hardships are predominantly focused around raising champion Arabian horses–a “living symbol of their culture’s resilience”–in the West Bank. Stallions of Palestine is in competition for a Local Jury Award, which aims to encourage understanding and acceptance between people.  

6 of 8
So What If The Goats Die (Morocco)

So What If The Goats Die won the highly acclaimed Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is now competing for Best International Short at Palm Springs. 

Directed by Sofia Alaoui, the film depicts the story of a young shepherd who must brave the harsh natural elements and traverse the Atlas Mountains during winter in search of food to save his cattle and his journey takes an unexpected twist…  

7 of 8
Omé (Lebanon)

Wassim Geagea’s Omé tells the tale of a nine-year-old who is on a mission to bring his mother home from heaven when her passing away calls for him to question his faith and beliefs. The film won the Silver Star for Best Short Film at the El Gouna Film Festival and is now another competitor for the Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes at Palm Springs.  

8 of 8
The Present (Palestine)

Farah Nabulsi is a Palestinian-British filmmaker who’s debut short film depicts the touching story of a man who sets out with his daughter to buy a wedding anniversary gift for his wife against all odds in the occupied West Bank. After winning Best Live-Action Short at the Oscar-qualifying Cleveland International Film Festival earlier this year, The Present is now in the running to win the Bridging the Borders Award at the forthcoming festival.  

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