Arab Film Festival Rotterdam Kicks Off On May 30



Thu, 30 May 2024 - 11:52 GMT


Thu, 30 May 2024 - 11:52 GMT



Arab Film Festival Rotterdam was inaugurated at the "LantarenVenster" cinema hall with a distinguished cultural display, featuring delicious Arabic culinary tastings in the foyer. The event was highlighted by a stunning musical performance by the Marmoucha Orchestra, which shone as an elegant trio during the Arab Film Festival Rotterdam 2024.





Over four days, the festival will explore Arab cinema showcasing a diverse array of films made by Arab filmmakers, including films from North Africa, the Middle East, and the Gulf region.


The opening ceremony was presented by Monya Sabil, followed by a performance by director Leila Al Bayati, who conveyed her emotions and story through a visual and musical display. Leila provided a glimpse of her film "From Abdul to Leila," which explores themes of identity and cultural duality through an Iraqi family in France, interweaving music and beautiful imagery with personal stories. The film delves deeply into issues of exile, war, and integration, reflecting Leila’s journey through France, Cairo, and Berlin in search of roots and understanding, resulting in a cinematic expression of personal and collective experiences.



Festival director Rosh Abdelfatah delivered an opening speech emphasizing the importance of the festival, which celebrates its 25th anniversary, aiming to act as a bridge between cultures by presenting an honest image of the Arab world beyond daily news. He highlighted that cinema is a tool for deepening understanding between people and that the festival’s existence relies on both filmmakers and audiences.


Additionally, star Shaima Tayeb spoke during the screening of the opening film "Hajjan" directed by Abu Bakr Shawky, underscoring the importance of cinema in Saudi Arabia, especially for the younger generation, and highlighting the significant role cinema plays in conveying stories and cultures.


In a notable tribute, the creative Syrian artist Duraid Lahham was honored. This recognition celebrates a pinnacle of rare creativity, as he has given much to his Arab homeland and humanity, receiving nothing but love in return. Director Basel Al-Khatib accepted the award on behalf of Lahham from director Kassem Hawal. Duraid Lahham, unable to attend due to personal circumstances, delivered a video message thanking the festival for its role in promoting artistic culture in the diaspora.


Ahmed Helmy will be honored during the closing ceremony, which will take place on Sunday at 7:30 PM.




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