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Windows into Arab culture

UNT department presents film fest

Award-winning films from Palestinian territories, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria will be featured at the second Arab Film Festival Texas, presented by the University of North Texas’ Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute.

Film festival director Tania Khalaf said it’s the only festival of its kind in the state.

“On this side of the world, the only window into Arab culture is filtered through the media,” Khalaf, a professor in UNT’s radio, TV and film department, said in a news release. “The Arab world contains so much humor and heart. Bringing that to audiences is very important to me, especially here in Texas where I have lived for almost 10 years now.”

Films will be shown Friday through Sunday at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas.

International film producer Isabelle Stead will be a part of a Q&A session after the Texas premiere of her film In My Mother’s Arms on Friday. The documentary won the Asia Pacific Screen Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Stead also produced six Iraqi short films, which will be screened along with a seventh short film on Saturday. The short films were made by 20 students as part of a workshop and all focus on subjects surrounding childhood and growing up in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Following the shorts will be an interactive panel discussion, “Children and Trauma,” featuring Stead as well as other scholars.

The festival also features award-winning feature-length films, including Return to Homs, about the innocence lost in Syria’s uprising; When I Saw You, a story about human triumph in the face of adversity; Wadjda, the first Saudi feature film directed by a woman, which tells the story of a free-spirited girl; and A World Not Ours, an intimate portrait of a displaced Palestinian family.

— Staff report


When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Receptions will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, sponsored by Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant.

Where: Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 230, in Dallas

Details: Tickets to a single screening cost $5 each, free for students with ID. A festival pass costs $30.

On the Web:


8 p.m. — Texas premiere of In My Mother’s Arms, followed by Q&A with producer Isabelle Stead


1 p.m. — Screening of Iraqi short films, including “Children of God,” “Children of War,” “Lipstick,” “Nesma’s Birds,” “War Canister,” “Happy Birthday” and “My Name Is Mohamed”

2:30 p.m. — “Children and Trauma,” an interactive discussion with academic scholars and filmmakers

5 p.m. — U.S. premiere of the short film “Record”; Texas premiere of the feature documentary Return to Homs

7:30 p.m. — Feature narrative When I Saw You


1 p.m. — Texas premiere of the short narrative “My Sense of Modesty”; feature narrative Wadjda

4 p.m. — Shorts screening, including the Texas premieres of “Ismail,” “Sabbat El Aid” and “The Big House-Al Bayt Al Kabeer,” the U.S. premiere of “Om Amira,” and “Mehdi”

7:30 p.m. — Texas premiere of the short narrative “Studio Beirut”; feature documentary A World Not Ours