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Arab Cinema Set To Shine Bright At Tribeca Film Festival

New York’s Tribeca Film Festival is starting this month and five Arab films will be screened amongst hundreds of international submissions.

Running from 9th-20th June, Tribeca Film Festival will be in its 20th edition and similar to the way such events have been running since the outbreak of COVID-19, the event will host both physical in-person and virtual experiences. The festival will celebrate a plethora of documentaries, video games, films, podcasts and more.

More importantly, the five films from the Arab world set to be featured at the week-long festival include “Souad,” the film that will open the SAFAR Film Festival in London next month. These are the films we’ll be watching out for at the Tribeca Film Festival:

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No Longer Suitable For Us

Competing in the short film category, this 21-minute film, directed by New York-based Julian Joslin, will debut on 12th June. The narrative of the short is focused around Samir, played by British-Syrian actor Laith Nakli, who is a single father and Syrian FBI informant that has built a rather precarious life for himself and his son in Brooklyn, New York. The story tells of Samir’s struggles to avoid deportation and separation from his son.

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Made by Cairo based, Egyptian writer-director Ayten Amin, Souad was one of the 56 officially selected submissions of last year’s cancelled Cannes Film Festival. The reason Amin stands out is that she has been consistent in recounting the stories and lives of women in Egypt today. Ayten Amin originally began writing the script for Souad in 2015, and the film explores how social media affects the mind and lives of young women approaching their adult lives. The film is competing in the International Narrative category.

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Peace By Chocolate

Based on a true story, Peace By Chocolate will debut in Tribeca Film Festival’s Online Premieres category and stars director and actor Hatem Ali. It is the last role he played before he passed away due to a heart attack in Egypt in December 2020.

Made by Canadian filmmaker Jonathan Keijser, the film explores themes of immigration, the lives of refugees from countries devastated by war, and food as something that has the power to bring people together. Other themes explore family ties, personal ambitions, and attaining the “Canadian Dream” of starting a small business and establishing a comfortable life.

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Simple As Water

Simple as Water is competing in the features category, and explores themes of love, displacement, and breaking family ties. The film is a submission by Academy Award-winner Megan Mylan. Set between Germany, America, Greece and Turkey, the film portrays the delicate bonds that hold Syrian families together, whilst being pulled apart by war.

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The Ballad Of A White Cow

Looking at capital punishment as a topic, The Ballad Of A White Cow is a multi-narrative film that is competing in the Tribeca Critic’s Week category and is co -written and co-directed by Arab filmmakers Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha.
Mina, the main character, has her life fall into disarray when she discovers her husband was not guilty of the crime he was executed for and goes on a journey to battle against a distrustful system for her own and her daughter’s sake. The film goes deep into feelings of injustice, revenge, regret and lies.

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