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7th Twin Cities Arab Film Festival

November 10–13

At the historic Heights Theatre
3951 Central Ave NE | Columbia Heights | Minnesota | 55421
Tickets: $10 general admission, $8 students
Festival passes: $50 at the door, $40 in advance

Rami Azzazi, Film Festival Curator
Marya Morstad, Film Festival Director Full details and schedule at mizna.org/arabfilmfest11
Buy your tickets now!


On the eve of the festival, join us for the Film Festival Fête at Saffron Restaurant and Lounge! Buy your ticket for the fête, as well as festival passes and tickets to individual films here!
Saffron Restaurant and Lounge, 123 N 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401
PARKING INFO: Ramp C is located across the street from our Saffron on 2nd Ave between 3rd & 4th St. Street parking is available for $1 per hour.


This year's festival opens with the Egyptian film 18 Days. A group of ten directors agreed to act quickly to shoot, with no budget and on a voluntary basis, ten short films about the Egyptian Revolution and the 18 days in Tahrir Square, creating ten stories they have experienced, heard, or imagined. There will be a panel discussion prior to the screening on the theme of the Arab revolutions and uprisings.

Panel details: Art in Revolution, a Panel Discussion on the Role of Art in the Arab Uprisings.
Thursday, November 10, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Anderson Hall, Room 270, University of Minnesota. Featuring Fadia Afashe (Humphrey Fellow, Human Rights Activist and Artist) • Mohammed Bamyeh (Guest Editor of forthcoming Mizna journal "Literature in Revolution," Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh) • Waleed Mahdi (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of American Studies) • Tania Khalaf (Filmmaker and Professor of Radio, Television, and Film, University of North Texas). Moderated by Imed Labidi (Lecturer, Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature). Map


Award-winning films originating in Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and the United Arab Emirates among many others, highlight the seventh edition of Mizna's Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. Join us for a wide-ranging and thought-provoking selection of feature-length and short films made by and about Arabs and Arab Americans.

Other film highlights in the festival line-up include:

Hawi (The Juggler), is the third feature by Egyptian director Ibrahim El-Batout, which won the Best Arab Film at the 2010 Doha TriBeCa Film Festival. Shot in Alexandria, the film is an organic study of a city populated by disparate, often desperate characters, and a closer view of the so-called reality and lives of everyday people. El-Batout is credited with elevating independent cinema in Egypt to a new level.

City of Life, shot in Dubai, is an urban drama that tracks the various intersections of a multi-ethnic cast, examining how random interactions and their consequences can irrevocably impact another's life. As the name suggests, City of Life's inordinately humane kaleidoscope of converging experiences introduces a city that is in itself a living pulsating character. Directed by Ali F. Mostafa, this is the first major narrative feature to come out of the United Arab Emirates.

Teta, Alf Marra (Grandma, a Thousand Times) by Lebanese director Mahmoud Kabour, is a poetic documentary about the filmmaker's feisty Beiruti grandmother. The film employs magical realism to convey the story, which won Best Film at The London International Documentary Film Festival and which was inspired by a piece by Kaabour originally published in Mizna's literary journal, Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America.

Algeria, Images of a Fight by Jerome Laffont, is a French documentary that profiles René Vautier—considered an anti-colonialist filmmaker and one of the most censored directors of his time—about his coverage of the Algerian War of Independence in the 1960s.

Stray Bullet, by Lebanese director Georges Hachem, won first prize at the Dubai International Film Festival. The film, set shortly after the start of Lebanon's 1975–1990 civil war, tells the story of a young woman who is torn between a fiancé chosen by her family and a former lover who suddenly reappears in her life. The film stars Lebanese-Canadian Nadine Labaki, director of the highly acclaimed 2007 production, Caramel and more recently, Where Do We Go Now?, which was chosen earlier this month as Lebanon's 2011 entry in the Best Foreign Language film category for the Academy Awards and recently won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Koran: Back to the Origins of the Book, by Bruno Ulmer, is an enlightening documentary about the origins of the Koran, which according to Muslim tradition, has remained static and unchanged since its revelation to the prophet Mohammed between 610 and 632 CE in Mecca and Medina. However, recent discoveries of the oldest known Koranic manuscripts, dating from around 680, indicate that the Koran may have a more complicated history.

The festival also features local entries, such as Iraqi-American Tarik Rasouli's Iraq, Finally, a filmic diary of his first ever visit to his parents' homeland, and Triumph67, a collaboration between a Jewish director, Dan Tanz and a Palestinian actor/producer, Mohannad Ghawanmeh. Following the sudden death of his brother, a Palestinian-American man must grapple with the past, the present, and the cost of his own secrets from a long ago summer. Triumph67 won Honorable Mention at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.

The Twin Cities Arab Film Festival closes with the Minnesota premiere of Palestinian director Elia Suleiman's The Time That Remains, an examination of the creation of the state of Israel from its creation in 1948 to the present day. An official selection at The Cannes Film Festival in 2010, this semi-autobiographical drama is written and directed by and stars Suleiman, known for his 2002 film, Divine Intervention, which screened at Mizna's first Arab Film Festival in 2003.

Lana Barkawi, Mizna's Executive and Artistic Director states
It's wonderful to see how our festival has taken shape and grown over the years. This year's team, Rami Azzazi, Marya Morstad and the festival committee, have put together an exciting and timely selection of films—whether romantic, political or revolutionary—always reflecting the humanity of our community.

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Experimental Arab Film Featured in CAVE 2 FILM FEST Mizna: Prose, Poetry & Art Exploring Arab America Winter & Spring 2018 Arabic Language Classes

2017 Arab Film Fest Awards

Mizna Pages
Mizna is a Twin Cities non-profit arts organization that promotes contemporary expressions of Arab American culture. We publish the literary journal Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America, produce the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, and offer varied other readings, performances, art projects, and community events involving an exceptionally talented and diverse range of local, national, and international Arab American artists.

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an Arab film blog by Mohannad Ghawanmeh.

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