September 27 – October 1
Mizna presents the twelfth Twin Cities Arab Film Festival in partnership with the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul.
Established in 2003, the Arab Film Festival has featured local debuts of independent narrative and documentary features and short films from more than fifteen countries. Over its twelve editions, our festival has created a necessary space in the Twin Cities for Arab and Muslim filmmakers to tell their stories in beautiful and innovative ways. The festival seeks to provide Arab American and Arab film artists support and exposure, build the local Arab American community, and present to the general public the diverse ways in which Arabs view themselves and the world they live in through the powerful and accessible medium of film. For the larger audience, the festival provides the chance to encounter Arab / Arab American communities on their own terms, revealing the heterogeneity of Arab peoples, and providing a rich, complex, and true source of cultural understanding. Films in the festival are, for the most part, not in wide distribution, and are therefore otherwise unavailable to Twin Cities audiences. This year our project feels more urgent than ever, as our programming serves a response to national and international policies that target the lives of immigrants and refugees, while also tackling the global threat of xenophobia and Islamophobia.
Mizna is a local Arab arts organization that has excelled for the past 18 years in diversifying the Twin Cities’ artistic and intellectual life, weaving necessary voices and stories into our collective public sphere. With our signature literary journal (Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America), the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, and other arts programming, we are a nationally recognized platform for contemporary Arab American expression and its place in the American experience.
All films presented with English subtitles
Wednesday, September 27, 7:00pm | Location: Walker Art Center
Director: Vatche Boulghourjian | Narrative | 2016 | Country: Lebanon, France | Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Rabih (Barakat Jabbour), a young blind man, lives a quiet life in a small village in Lebanon where he sings in a choir and edits Braille documents. His life unravels when he applies for a passport and discovers that his identification card, which he has carried his entire life, is a forgery… read more.
New Homes, New Stories
Thursday, September 28, 11:00am
Director: Various | Narrative/Documentary | 2012-2017 | Country: Various | Language: Various
This segment brings together multiple voices from our own community through short film. Each story tackles the question of immigration to the United States and the struggles that accompany life in diaspora. Bringing together various stories from Minnesotans, the films here aim to open a discussion about what it means to call multiple places home…. read more.
Gaza Surf Club
Thursday, September 28, 1:20pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Philip Gnadt, Mickey Yamine | Documentary | 2016 | Country: Palestine, Germany | Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 87 min
Free for Students! While the young people of Gaza lack job prospects and suffer the indignities of life under occupation, this doesn’t stop them from surfing. Gaza Surf Club follows the dedicated members of the surf community in Gaza City, who must use smuggled surfboards to pursue their passion… read more.
Abdullah + Villagers
Thursday, September 28, 3:15pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Humaid Alsuwaidi | Narrative | 2015 | Country: UAE | Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 97 min
In this touching comedy from the UAE, a young man, Abdullah, defies his conservative family’s wishes and strikes out on his own to pursue a career in music which leads to an unlikely friendship.. Screening with short film Villagers… read more.
Withered Green + Photo + Departure
Thursday, September 28, 5:20pm
Director: Mohammed Hammad | Narrative | 2016 | Country: Egypt | Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 73 min
Iman, a 34-year-old woman living in Cairo, is helping her younger sister Noha prepare to get married. In the absence of their parents, and in order to uphold tradition, Iman is forced to find a man from the family to give her sister away. However, beset by divisive social tensions, unexpected health problems, and contentious family negotiations, this proves to be more difficult than she anticipated. Screening with short films Photo, Departure… read more.
House Without Roof
Thursday, September 28, 7:00pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Soleen Yusef | Narrative | 2016 | Country: Iraq, Germany, Qatar | Language: Kurdish, German with English subtitles | Runtime: 117 min
Liya, Jan, and Alan travel across Kurdistan with their mother’s dead body in tow. Born in the Kurdish area of Iraq, the three estranged siblings were raised in Germany and have returned only to fulfill their mother’s final request to be buried next to their father, a soldier who was killed by Saddam Hussein’s regime… read more.
Thursday, September 28, 9:10pm
Director: Lofti Achour | Narrative | 2016 | Country: Tunisia | Language: French, Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 85 mins
After a violent and tragic encounter with a police officer, three teenage friends each try to move on with their lives. Situated somewhere between hope and despair, the film’s strengths lie with its characters, whose stories depict frustration and courage against the backdrop of a changing social and political landscape in Tunisia… read more.
Occupation of the American Mind
Friday, September 29, 11:00am | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Soleen Yusef | Narrative | 2016 | Country: United States | Language: English | Runtime: 85 min
Free for Students! The Occupation of the American Mind examines how the Israeli government, the United States government, and pro-Israel lobbying groups have waged a series of coordinated PR campaigns to manage political fallout from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land… read more.
Nowhere To Hide
Friday, September 29, 1:15pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Zaradasht Ahmed | Documentary | 2016 | Country: Iraq, Sweden, Norway | Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 86 min
This is the story of one man’s struggle in Iraq, where war has become the norm. The enemy is invisible and there are no safe places to hide. Nori Sharif, a 36-year-old nurse, husband, and father of four, takes up a camera and begins documenting life in one of Iraq’s most dangerous provinces, Diyala… read more.
Go Home + Caravan
Friday, September 29, 3:00pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Jihane Chouaib | Narrative | 2015 | Country: Lebanon, France, Switzerland | Language: French, Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 98 min
Nada travels back to Lebanon after living in France, and she feels like a foreigner in her own country. But, there is still a place she calls home: an abandoned house in ruins, haunted by the presence of her grandfather who disappeared mysteriously during the Lebanese civil war. Screening with short film Caravan… read more.
Les Petits Chats + Hide Your Metal
Friday, September 29, 5:10pm
Director: Sherif Nakhla | Documentary | 2015 | Country: Egypt | Language: English, Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 80 min
A celebration of the 1960s and 70s, Egypt’s so-called “Golden Age,” Les petits chats is named after one of the country’s most beloved bands, which specialized in playing Italian, French, and American music. The film follows the band in 2010 as they prepare for a reunion show in a newly constructed gated community in Cairo just before Egypt’s revolution. Screening with short film Hide Your Metal… read more.
Friday, September 29, 7:00pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Magdy Ahmed Ali | Narrative | 2016 | Country: Egypt | Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 120 mins
Filmmaker Attending! Hatem, a moderate young preacher in Cairo, becomes a television celebrity with millions of fans. This makes him a perfect tool for government manipulation on a mass scale, as his eloquence and wit are employed by key figures in the Egyptian state to influence policy and religious practice. However, when the cameras are off, bloody struggles for state power rage, and as Hatem tries to stay out of political and sectarian disputes, his personal and professional life become increasingly consumed by the complex tapestry of Egyptian politics… read more.
Friday, September 29, 9:50pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Nabil Ayouch | Narrative | 2015 | Country: Morocco, France | Language: Arabic, French with English subtitles | Runtime: 103 mins
Banned in its home country, Much Loved delves into the lives of four sex workers living in Marrakech. Deserted by their families, Noha, Randa, Soukaina, and Hima take care of one another as they navigate a world of high-class foreign clients and corrupt police… read more.
Unfamiliar Scenes, Animated and Invented
Saturday, September 30, 11:00am | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Various | Narrative | 2015 | Country: Various | Language: Various | Runtime: 97 min
This eclectic selection of short films bring stories that are less commonly heard to the big screen by showing underrepresented groups, like the Nubians living in Egypt, and often unseen spaces, like the Western Sahara refugee camps. All films are Minnesota premieres… read more.
Those Who Remain
Saturday, September 30, 1:00pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Eliane Raheb | Documentary | 2017 | Country: Lebanon, UAE | Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Haykal, a 60 year-old Christian farmer, lives there and runs a restaurant and is in the process of building a house. Those Who Remain follows Haykal’s struggle to stay on his land amidst sectarian tensions, fear, and hopelessness… read more.
We Have Never Been Kids
Saturday, September 30, 2:45pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Mahmood Soliman | Documentary | 2016 | Country: Egypt, UAE, Qatar, Lebanon | Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 87 min
A fascinating portrait of change, We Have Never Been Kids follows the personal as well as the political. It captures the realities of raising children in poverty and the growth of boys into young men. It documents the hope inspired by the January 25 Revolution, as well as the grim realities of its aftermath… read more.
Hisham Bizri Retrospective
Saturday, September 30, 5:00pm
Director: Hisham Bizri | Documentary | 2005-2017 | Country: Various | Language: Various | Runtime: 78 min
Post-show conversation with the filmmaker and former curator of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, Mohannad Ghawanmeh. In this series of films, we highlight the work of Lebanese American experimental filmmaker Hisham Bizri, in particular his films that highlight the lives of artists both in and outside the Arab world… read more.
Halal Love (And Sex) + The Candle
Saturday, September 30, 7:15pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Assad Fouladkar | Narrative | 2015 | Country: Lebanon, Germany | Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Three individual romances become unexpectedly intertwined in this clever Lebanese comedy about love, sex, and tradition. The film depicts and complicates the physical and emotional challenges that arise from even the most traditional relationships. Screening with short film The Candle… read more.
The War Show
Saturday, September 30, 9:30pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Obaidah Zytoon, Andreas Møl Dalsgaard | Documentary | 2016 | Country: Syria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland | Language: Arabic with English subtitles | Runtime: 100 min
The War Show tracks the experiences of radio host Obaidah Zytoon and her friends after they join the street protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011. A deeply personal road movie, it captures the fate of Syria through the intimate story of a small circle of friends as their lives intersect with war… read more.
Dreaming of Palestine
Sunday, October 1, 11:00am
Director: Various | Documentary Shorts | 1987-2017 | Country: Various | Language: Various
Post-Show Discussion This segment remembers the massacres at Sabra and Shatila in 1982, which claimed the lives of many Palestinians. It also marks 50 years since the devastating Arab-Israeli war in 1967. Please join us after the film screenings for stories from local Palestinians living in diaspora, as they share their memories of home, loss, history, and life… read more.
Sunday, October 1, 1:05pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Philippe Aractingi | Narrative | 2016 | Country: Lebanon | Language: Arabic with English subtitles
A complicated love story told through flashbacks, Listen uses creative sound mixing and music to capture the intricate connections between a young sound engineer’s emotional life and the shifting landscapes of modern-day Lebanon… read more.
Stitching Palestine + Between a Garden and the Sea
Sunday, October 1, 3:05pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Ariane Lorrain | Documentary | 2017 | Country: Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon | Language: English, Arabic with English subtitles
Twelve Palestinian women from different social and economic backgrounds discuss their lives and memories before their departure from Palestine—before the diaspora. Screening with short film Between a Garden and the Sea… read more.
Solitaire + The Parrot
Sunday, October 1, 7:00pm | Minnesota Premiere
Director: Sophie Boutros | Narrative | 2016 | Country: Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt | Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Set in a Lebanese village, Solitaire uses humor to address the way regional tensions manifest in people’s personal lives. Screening with short film The Parrot… read more.
General – $12.00
All Access Pass:
Before Opening Night