Meet Franco-Lebanese director Sabine El Gemayel on Saturday, October 24th, when the Arab Film Festival screens her feature, "Niloofar." El Gemayel will discuss the challenges of shooting on location in Iran in 2007. "Niloofar" is co-presented by Levantine Cultural Center.
This Franco-Iranian production (82 minutes) includes Roya Nownahali, Shahab Hosseini, Hengameh Ghaziani, Mobina Ayenedar, Amir Aghai, Sadegh Safai, and Fatemeh Motamed Aria.
Niloofar is a twelve-year-old girl whose dream is to read and write in a village where education is only for boys. While assisting her mother during a delivery Niloofar meets a wise woman who allows her to secretly study.
Niloofar's father arranges her marriage to an older man once she becomes a woman. Horrified by this notion, she does everything in her power to postpone her first periods. When destiny catches up with her she hides her womanhood from her community to pursue her dream. Until one day, the truth is revealed.
What is an intellectually curious 12-year-old girl to do in a village where females are forbidden to enter school? And where she is treated as property to be sold to the first prospective husband? This gripping psychological tale set on the Iraq-Iran border is a sensitive look at rural Iranian culture.
After living in Iran and Lebanon for most of her life, Sabine moved to Canada in 1987, where she received a B.A. in Communications Studies from Montreal's Concordia University in 1993. Sabine wrote and directed thre 16mm shorts before moving to Los Angeles in 1994. Since then she has edited a number of feature films such as the award winning Palestinian feature film "The Olive Harvest." Following up on her first feature, Sabine is completing a screenplay entitled "Maternidad."
The 13th annual Arab Film Festival is dedicated to bringing the unique Arab experience to our American audiences. Each year the festival offers inspiring stories through outstanding films by and about Arabs. Some of these stories unfold in distant places and others just next door. These films offer authentic images and narratives that reflect the diversity, talents, and realities of Arabs throughout the world. In doing so, the festival culturally bridges and connects global Arab filmmakers and their work with a wider community.