Free admission, open to all. However, electronic reservations are required for all screenings. RSVP here.
About the Festival
This three-day film festival will present and explore a panorama of emerging and established cinemas from the Middle East, including recent works from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Iran. The festival will highlight unifying themes in Middle Eastern cinemas, as well as delineate the complex role that filmmakers play in granting visibility to salient political and civil rights issues, often at odds with the political establishment. Filmmakers and scholars will discuss the ability for cinema to be used as a vehicle for mobilizing social change and how these films reflect and respond to their domestic cultures.
The British comedy "The Infidel" kicks off a new film series, "New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema," Wednesday evening at the Harmony Gold Theater in Los Angeles.
British-Iranian comic actor Omid Djalili stars in the topical farce as a Muslim who is shocked to learn after his mother's death that he had been adopted. To complicate matters, he learns that his birth parents are Jewish. Richard Schiff of "The West Wing" fame also stars in the comedy (which had a brief theatrical run in L.A. this spring) as a Jewish cab driver. Both actors are scheduled to discuss the film after the screening.
Would life in a small Algerian bled (bilad), beyond the big city of Algiers, be so bad? That's the proposal of Masquerades (Algeria, 2008, 90 min.), a homemade farce and the debut feature film written and directed by Lyes Salem. A Paris-trained theatre actor and auteur, Salem also stars in the role of Mounir, a rather typical upstanding family man who struggles with his conscience and a sister with a rather unusual malady.
A handsome if possessive brother and husband, Mounir works as a "horticultural engineer" for "the Colonel"—a character we never set eyes on, though we see his cortege of black SUVs show up in the town to create a little dust storm in celebration of an important wedding. "Love For Ever" is the recurring theme image every time we see the black vehicles circling the town square, kicking up dust that covers the townsfolk.
The 14th annual Arab Film Festival, celebrating its fourth year in Los Angeles, will open with a feature film by Lyes Salem (Algeria 2008, 90 min). "Masquerades" was Algeria's 2009 official entry for the 2009 Academy Awards, and winner of many prestigious awards including Best Feature at the Dubai International Film Festival, and Best Arabic Film at the Cairo International Film Festival.
All-access pass to films Fri-Sun is $65. Purchase online here.
[Los Angeles, July 29, 2010]--The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), presenters of the Golden Globes, awarded a grant to the Levantine Cultural Center (LCC) to support the center's monthly film series, "New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema". Very few of the ﬁlms in the "New Voices" series receive nationwide theatrical distribution, and oftentimes LCC screening events present the only local opportunity to view and discuss these ﬁlms in a public forum.
Nicole Ballivian's "Driving to Zigzigland" and Erika Cohn's "When the Voices Fade" will open this film session on October 18th with a common commitment against clichés about Arabs and the Middle East. An invigorating Q/A session with both directors will ensue, followed by a deejayed after party with Middle Eastern fusion and dance music by Jazzo/DJ Y.
"Driving to Zigzigland" provides remarkable insight into Hollywood's disposition to portray Arabs as terrorists through the true story of a Palestinian cab driver struggling to become a legitimate actor. Even more remarkable is that the film was made at all. None of the actors or crewmembers were paid, and the production scraped by on a $50,000 budget. But "Driving to Zigzigland" has heart, and has been received with wide acclaim from multiple international film festivals, winning "Best Feature Film" and "Best Actor" at the Amal Film Festival, and "Arabian Sights Audience Award" at FilmFest DC.