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Arab Documentaries – Recording Whose ‘Reality’?

worldnotoursThis well-pitched conference complete with film screening, is happening today and the day after at the University of Westminster. While the programme isn’t fully fleshed out, the starting premise and details so far look promising. For too long colonial portrayals of or missionary attitudes towards ‘the other’ and ‘the beyond’ by Western media has been the mainstay of cinematic and documentary representation for the Middle East and North Africa. Festivals such as Human Rights Watch and the Palestine Film Festival have worked so very hard to put this right, however at an academic level, there has been less enquiry.

Thursday, 10 April, 2014

Screening and discussion of the multi award-winning A WORLD NOT OURS (2012), Director Mahdi Fleifel, a Danish-Palestinian film director based in London, and who graduated from the National Film and Television School in 2009. “An intimate, and often humorous, portrait of three generations of exile in the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh, in southern Lebanon.

Film Screening: Hawa Tabi’i (Hues of Love), director Nisrine Mansour, 2013.

Registration from 6pm, screening and discussion 6.30-8:30pm  Friday, 11 April, 2014

Keynote speaker: Viola Shafik

Shafik is Head of Studies for the ‘Documentary Campus’ MENA programme and a filmmaker (including Arij/Scent of a Revolution, 2013, and My Name Is Not Ali, 2011). She is also the author of Popular Egyptian Cinema (2007) and Arab Cinema (1998).

Several papers will be presented during the conference, Shafik’s is: Arab documentary films that have proliferated since the start of the Arab uprisings are part of a much longer and wider success story. Whose reality finds expression through documentary film and what kind of ‘reality’ is represented? This event brings together filmmakers, curators, scholars and researchers to discuss topics including:

  • Processes and power relations in commissioning, funding and distribution
  • Arab film festivals and their impact
  • Voices and representation: Who gets to tell which story?
  • Current debates about documentary ethics and aesthetics

Download the event programme