Annual Arab Film Festival at Arab American National Museum Next Weekend

By Adil James, TMO

January 24 – 27, the Arab American National Museum  will host, in its “intimate” 125 person theater a half dozen movies from across the Arab world, many of them films which have won prominent national-level awards, or which have been screened for audiences at prominent venues like the Sundance Film Festival.

In an interview with the Muslim Observer, the Deputy Director of the Museum, Devon Akmon, explained that the filsm were chosen by Lana Mansour, who did a lot of research, reaching out to Arab organizations across the country to find out which films resonated most around the world. 

While last year’s film festival focused more on the Arab Spring, this year’s collection of films was not as influenced by any single theme.

“Especially for the last couple of years,” Mr. Akmon explained, film in the Arab world has been “really booming now… there is a renaissance… a new motivation to show through film what is happening.”

Mr. Akmon explained that many of the films are especially exciting, for example 1/2 Revolution, which shows an intimate first person view of the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt.

Many of the films are in Arabic, but all are accessible to moviegoers, as they have subtitles.

Among this year’s prominent festival titles are:  1/2 Revolution, about the Egyptian revolution; Pegase, a Moroccan fictional movie; Habibti (with actor Hiam Abbass of The Visitor, Lemon Tree, and Amreeka)– Habibti was directed by Nour Wazzi of Lebanon and based on the story of a traditional woman confronted by her daughter’s more liberal values.

The format of the three day event will be long titles interspersed with short movies, to maintain the interest of visitors. The last day will have 1/2 Revolution, which is seen by the organizers as the highlight of the weekend. 1/2 Revolution will be introduced by Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, who teaches Arab studies.  He is UM’s Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History.

The Arab American National Museum has hosted a film festival every year since it opened in 2005.   13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn.  Call 313-582-2266 for information.


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