DUBAI –The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), in partnership with the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), will present “Arab Cinema Classics,” a two-day screening series of the best in Arab film on Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 21, at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles.
The 100 Greatest Arab Films list was created to celebrate a decade of DIFF in 2013, and the Festival worked with nearly 500 prominent film critics, writers, novelists, academics and other arts professionals to compile it. The list formed part of the first ever Arabic-English cinematic book, “Cinema of Passion”, which provides a critical and historical approach to Arab cinema.
The screening series is part of the Academy’s International Outreach initiative, which brings together Academy members representing a range of cinematic crafts with filmmakers and film lovers from around the world. The Academy and DIFF previously announced a partnership in November 2013, whereby a delegation from the Academy designed and hosted a customised programme of events for DIFF 2013. During the festival the Academy announced that DIFF had qualified as a Festival that can contribute short films for Oscar consideration. The qualification will apply to the Muhr Arab and Muhr Asia Africa shorts competitions, making the festival the first from the Arab world to be on the list. Winning films from last year’s festival can qualify for the Academy’s 2015 competition.
The Academy will screen three selections from DIFF’s Top 10:
“The Night of Counting the Years” (“Al-Mummia,” 1970)
Friday, June 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Director Chadi Abdel Salam’s film is based on the true story of the Horabat tribe’s 1881 plundering of pharaohs’ tombs in the ancient city of Thebes. Long unavailable for exhibition, the film was restored in 2009 by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation.
“Cairo Station” (“Bab el Hadid,” 1958)
Friday, June 13, at 9:20 p.m.
Directed by the internationally renowned Egyptian auteur Youssef Chahine, the film takes place at Cairo’s main railroad station, commonly referred to as the Iron Gate, and offers a tense portrait of life at the margins of Egyptian society.
“West Beirut” (“West Beyrouth,” 1998)
Saturday, June 21, at 7:30 p.m.
With special guest writer/director Ziad Doueiri
This directorial debut of Ziad Doueiri is set in the tumultuous spring of 1975, as the Lebanese Civil War unfolds. Following the lives of two teenagers from the Muslim section of Beirut, the film blends the personal and the historical into a vibrant coming-of-age drama.
“The vibrancy of Arab cinema today owes much to the rich legacy and proud history of Arab filmmaking,” said Sid Ganis, chair of the International Outreach Committee. “The Academy is pleased to embrace some of the region’s most influential films and artists through this Los Angeles presentation.”
Abdulhamid Juma, Festival Chairman, DIFF, said: “DIFF’s ‘100 Greatest Arab Films’ list was created as a cultural touchstone for anyone with an interest in Arab cinema or those discovering it for the first time. Partnering with The Academy to showcase highlights from the list is a fantastic mark of the quality of filmmaking included in it and demonstrates the international desire to explore the cinematic heritage of the region. We were honoured when The Academy announced at our 10th edition that we are had joined the ranks as a qualifying festival for the Oscar’s short film competition. This is an incredible opportunity for filmmakers in the region and we look forward to further raising the profile of Arab cinema on the world stage.”
Tickets for each evening of Arab Cinema Classics is $5 general admission and $3 for Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased starting June 3 online at www.oscars.org. The Bing Theater is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus.