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Center Cosponsors 2007 AFF and AFI Film Fests

27 features, shorts and documentaries screening at locations around the city, including UCLA, USC, the Writer's Guild Theater, and the ArcLight Theater


From October 31 through November 11, a cornucopia of 27 films from and about the Middle East is being showcased as part of the Arab Film Festival (AFF) and the American Film Institute (AFI) Fest held annually in Los Angeles. These screenings complement a rich and diverse program of cinema which also features UCLA's annual celebration of Iranian films supported by CNES. Cinema is an integral part of the teaching and research program in Middle East studies at UCLA, which is buttressed by a large Middle Eastern film collection available at the Instructional Media Library and the Film and Television Archive. CNES has been an active promoter of Middle Eastern cinema for decades, most recently screening The Yakoubian Building, directed by Marwan Hamed of Egypt, and from Israel, The Journey of Vaan Nguyen, directed by UCLA alumnus Duki Dror. UCLA-trained filmmakers Joan Mandell (Tales from Arab Detroit), Nigol Bezjian (Chickpeas), and Hanna Elias (The Olive Harvest) continue to enrich the annals of Middle Eastern and American cinema with their artistry and poignant commentary.

The AFF and AFI Fest span the national cinemas of Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, and also include films about the Middle Eastern Diaspora in France, Norway, and the US, with American and European filmmakers enriching the mix of features, shorts, and documentaries on a wide array of subjects.

CNES and AFF are pleased to cosponsor the free screening and Los Angeles premiere of TENDER IS THE WOLF (Ors el Dhib) on October 31 at the James Bridges Theater in Melnitz Hall. In this dark nocturnal adventure, up-and-coming director Jilani Saadi follows a group of outcasts and a young prostitute through the streets of Tunis. Their fates interconnect after an argument turns ugly and she is brutally raped by several of the men. A departure from the usual depiction of the dispossessed in the Arab World, the film exposes through its captivating characters the rawness, despair and alienation plaguing the lives of the poor in big cities.

On November 2, the Center and AFI co-host the screening of CARAMEL, the sleeper hit of this year's Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Nadine Labaki and produced in Lebanon and France, the film stirs together the stories of five women who meet regularly in a Beirut beauty salon, revealing a colorful and sensual microcosm of the city where several generations mix, talk and confide in each other. The women's intimate and liberated conversations revolve around men, sex and motherhood, in between haircuts and sugar waxing with caramel.

The 25 additional entries are listed below in alphabetical order and linked to information about screening date, time, and venue:

AFGHAN MUSCLES, directed by Andreas Mol Dalsgaard, Denmark.

AMINA, THE CONFUSED FEELINGS, directed by Salima Marie Laure Mokrani, France.

BODY OF WAR, directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, USA.

DETROIT UNLEADED, directed by Rola Nashef, USA.

FALAFEL, directed by Michel Kammoun, Lebanon/France.

GARBAGE, directed by Lotfi Achour, Tunisia.

I LOVE HIP HOP IN MOROCCO, directed by Joshua Asen and Jennifer Needleman, USA.

IRAQ, THE SONG OF THE MISSING MEN, directed by Layth Abdulamir, France.

KEMO SABE, directed by Rana Kazkaz, USA.

JELLYFISH, directed by Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen, Israel.

LEISURE TIME, directed by Mohamed Mostafa Kamel, Egypt.

OPERATION FILMMAKER, directed by Nina Davenport, USA.

PERSEPOLIS, directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, France.

MAKE A WISH, directed by Cherien Dabis, Palestine/USA.

RISE AND SHINE, directed by Sherif El-Bendary, Egypt.

SALATA BALADI, directed by Nadia Kamel, Egypt.

SINCE YOU LEFT, directed by Mohamed Bakri, Palestine/Israel.

SOUR, directed by Nathan Gray, USA.

THE BAND'S VISIT, directed by Eran Kolirin, Israel.

THE DECEASED, directed by Rachid El Ouali, Morocco.

THE LAST MAN, directed by Ghassan Salhab, Lebanon/France.

THE QUEST FOR THE MISSING PIECE, directed by Oded Lotan, Israel.

USA VS. AL-ARIAN, directed by Line Halvorsen, Norway.

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, directed by Faouzi Bensaidi, Morocco.

WINTERLAND, directed by Hisham Zaman, Norway.

The Arab Film Festival screens in several locations including the UCLA James Bridges Theater, the USC Annenberg Auditorium, and the Writers Guild Theater. The American Film Institute screenings take place at the ArcLight Theater in Hollywood.

For details on the festivals and tickets visit and

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