The Arab Fund for Arts & Culture (AFAC) has launched an initiative titled ‘Screens & Streams’ which aims at promoting the works of independent Arab filmmakers and artists through the current pandemic. The arts and culture platform releases a weekly curated list of AFAC-supported films, available online for free for up to 7 days.
From Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Morocco, the lists feature narrative and documentary short and feature length films telling incredibly potent stories from across the Middle East by multi-faceted indie Arab filmmakers. Be sure to catch this week’s selections, including stories of the trials and tribulations of Palestinian refugee camps, the impassioned minds behind a student-led revolution in Lebanon, and the lives of children working in a leather tannery in Cairo.
Below is the full list of AFAC offerings this week, as well as where to watch.
Home Sweet Home (2014)
Director: Nadine Naous
Filmmaker Naous’s father spent 40 years as the director of a secular school he founded in Beirut’s southern suburbs, once a mixed area but now predominantly a Hezbollah stronghold. Today, the 69-year-old founder is drowning in debt and must sell his school which is causing him devastation yet relieving his wife. Naous returns to her homeland to document this period in her family’s life and the life of Lebanon.
The Little Eagles (2016)
Director: Mohamed Rashad
Between two generations, the left-wing activists of the sixties and seventies, and their children of the nineties, many things remain to be said. The film revolves around a confrontation between dreams, aspirations, political action, failure, frustration, alienation, and finally the revolution on both sides.
Living Skin (2010)
Director: Fawzy Saleh
‘Living Skin’ is a documentary that explores the lives of Shoushou and Mohammad Farag, two children who live and work in the tanneries in Egypt. Through their stories, we see the workers’ inhuman living conditions, surrounded by hazardous chemicals in a harmful environment, as they try to enjoy what remains of their childhood.
194. Us, Children of the Camp (2017)
Director: Samer Salameh
The film follows the director’s journey as he is forced to join the Palestinian Liberation Army in Syria only a month before the start of the Syrian uprising. With the escalation of violence and the increasing attacks by the Syrian regime army on the camp, the director and his friends attempt to document the hopes, struggles, departures and loss they experience.
74 - The Reconstitution of a Struggle (2012)
Director: by Rania Rafei and Raed Rafei
Between March and April 1974, students at the American University of Beirut occupied university offices for 37 days, demonstrating against a tuition increase. Fast forward to 2011, in the midst of the Arab Spring, filmmakers Rania and Raed Rafei decide to step back and reconsider the present situation in the light of the 1970s, a period pregnant with hope, but also a prelude to civil war. With the Lebanese student revolt of 1974 as their starting point, the filmmakers direct an absorbing documentary on the core issues of revolution and democracy. In addition to a meticulous re-enactment, they include theatrical improvisations in which activists give their interpretations of the student leaders’ actions in 1974.
Click here for more on the initiative and to stay tuned to future releases.
Image from 74 - The Reconstitution of A Struggle.