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Newsletter April 2016

1. DRY HOT SUMMERS opens Ismailia and shows in Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Florence, Milano and Sharjah
2. IN THE FUTURE THEY ATE FROM THE FINEST PORCELAIN in Berlin, Chicago, Cologne and Osnabrueck
3. NEW in World Sales: AND ON A DIFFERENT NOTE by Mohammad Shawky Hassan, showing this month at ALFILM in Berlin
4. BIRDS OF SEPTEMBER in Phoenix Art Museum and now on DVD
5. SOLOMON’S STONE in Berlin and Chicago
6. HAUNTED in Prague
7. FREE RANGE in Cairo and Kiev
8. event
9. NEW: FORGET BAGHDAD by Samir in mecfilm-shop.com
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1. DRY HOT SUMMERS opens Ismailia and shows in Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Florence, Milano and Sharjah

We are very proud to announce that Sherif Elbendary’s DRY HOT SUMMERS opens renown Documentary and Short Film Festival Ismailia in Egypt! In April the film also can be watched at the Black Box Cinema in Abu Dhabi in the program around the Abu Dhabi book fair, at ALFILM Arab Film Festival in Berlin, at the Middle East Now Festival in Florence in the International Competition of the 26th African Asian and Latin America Film Festival in Milano (in the presence of the director!) and at Cinema Akil in Sharjah.

Content
Two lonely people at opposite chapters of life accidentally meet on a busy summer day in a Cairo taxi. Frail old Shawky and bubbly young Doaa are both caught up in their busy routines as their race through the city evolves into a journey of self-discovery that reconnects them to life.
Egypt/Germany 2015, 30 min, digital, color, Arabic with English or French subtitles
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2. IN THE FUTURE THEY ATE FROM THE FINEST PORCELAIN in Berlin, Chicago, Cologne and Osnabrueck

Larissa Sansour’s new Sci-fi IN THE FUTUTRE THEY ATE FROM THE FNEST PORCELAIN (Co-director: Soren Lind) shows in different German festivals in April: at ALFILM Arab Film Festival Berlin, at the International Women’s Film Festival in Cologne and at the European Media Art Festival in Osnabrueck. Cinephiles in the USA can watch the movie at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival.

Content
In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain resides in the cross-section between sci-fi, archaeology and politics. Combining live motion and CGI, the film explores the role of myth for history, fact and national identity.
A narrative resistance group makes underground deposits of elaborate porcelain – suggested to belong to an entirely fictional civilization. Their aim is to influence history and support future claims to their vanishing lands.
Palestine/Denmark/UK/Qatar 2015, 29 min, digital, cinescope, Arabic with English subtitles
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3. NEW in World Sales: AND ON A DIFFERENT NOTE by Mohammad Shawky Hassan, showing this month at ALFILM in Berlin

Mohammad Shawky Hassan’s experimental short film AND ON A DIFFERENT NOTE is a new entry to the mec film World Sales catalogue. The film had its premiere at Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale already in 2015 and was shown after, amongst others, at the renown Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival as well as at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In April AND ON A DIFFERENT NOTE is presented at ALFILM – Arab Film Festival in Berlin.

Content
Today in this house nothing happens, nor does it in the homes of others. Time and place stand on parallel lines, refuting the coordinates of existence. The chronology of events is obscured, subversive noise is obliterated, elucidation impossible and language futile. All that remains is a soundscape perpetually occupied by self-proclaimed patriots, and scattered spaces carved by the rhythm of everyday life, all conspiring to maintain the status quo while hiding the humming background noise of the world.
And on a Different Note is a navigation of an attempt to carve out a personal space amid an inescapable sonic shield created primarily by prime time political talk shows with their indistinguishable, absurd and at times undecipherable rhetoric/ noises. Equally repulsive and addictive, these noises travel across geographies gradually constituting an integral part of a self-created map of exile.
Egypt 2015, 24 min, color, Arabic/ English with English/Arabic Subtitles
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4. BIRDS OF SEPTEMBER in Phoenix Art Museum and now on DVD

Sarah Francis portrait of her hometown Beirut is screened at Phoenix Art Museum in the US on April, 17th 2016.
The film is also available on DVD now at mecfilm-shop.com

Content
A glassed van roams the streets of Beirut, home to a camera that explores the city behind the glass. Along the way, several people are invited to share a personal moment in this moving confessional. Each one comes as a face, a body, a posture, a voice, an attitude, an emotion, a point of view, a memory. Their confessions are true, blunt, and intimate. However, soon enough, the van empties again, and roams Beirut; restlessly looking for something, for someone.
Sarah Francis, Lebanon/Qatar 2013, 99 min, digital, Arabic with English or with French subtitles
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5. SOLOMON’S STONE in Berlin and Chicago

Ramzi Maqdisi‘s bitter comic SOLOMON’S STONE i spart of the short film program „Out of Control“ at ALFILM Arab Film Festival in Berlin and shows on April, 17th at Chicago Palestine Film Festival, followed by a Skype Q&A with the director.

Content
Hussein, a Palestinian young man, receives a letter from the Israeli post office to appear in person to receive a package. He has to pay the sum of 20.000 $ US dollars in order to collect that package. Hussein’s curiosity to find out what the package contains drives him to sell everything he owns, despite the outright rejection of his mother, the matter that changes their lives afterwards.
The story is adapted by the novel Blue Light by Hussein Barghouty.
Palestine/Spain 2015, 25 min, color, Arabic with English or French subtitles
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6. HAUNTED in Prague

Liwaa Yazji’s documentary about the relation of Syrians to their home in the face of the war shows in Prague at the Eurofilm Festival on April, 12th.

Content
“When the bombs fell, the first thing we did was run away. It was not until later that we realized we had not looked back. We were not allowed to say goodbye to our home, our memories, our photos and the life that was lived within them. We have become vacant like these spaces; our hastily packed belongings and the forgotten things haunt us.” An uncertain existence followed the escape and expulsion from Syria that tumbled into a physical and mental nowhere, a non-space between yesterday and tomorrow. “Haunted” tells of the loss of home and security, of the real and metaphorical meaning which a house, a home has in one’s life.
Liwaa Yazji, Syria 2014, 112 min, digital, Arabic with English or French subtitles
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7. FREE RANGE in Cairo and Kiev

Lebanese Spaghetti Western FREE RANGE by Bass Bréche is part of the competition at the Handicap Film Festival in Cairo and shows at International Short Film Festival in Kiev.

Content
Based on actual events, Free Range is the story of a cow that crosses the border from Israel to Lebanon and meets with 16 year old Malakeh and her family. A  Lebanese Spaghetti-Western that talks about borders and power between people, religions, cows and UN interventions.
Lebanon/Germany 2014, 16 min, digital, cinescope, Arabic with English subtitles
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8. event

At the ALFILM SPOTLIGHT 2016 – Cousins. Jewish-Arab identities in postcolonial cultural discourse Irit Neidhardt (mec film) is moderating the Panel Discussion: Arab Jews in postcolonial cultural discourse – who is representing whom?
Artistic involvement with the multi-ethnic and multi-religious history of the Arab World has been on the rise over the past years, with a growing presence in cinema, literature and popular culture. For instance, it has been depicted in last year’s star-studded prime time TV show The Jewish Quarter, which was screened during the Ramadan. Where does this enforced interest in Arab-Jewish identities originate from and how does it manifest? Are we talking about an ongoing trend or isolated cases? How is the Arab Jew being depicted, represented and stereotyped and how do these images correlate with postcolonial and popular discourses about identity?
These issues will be discussed by Professor of Cultural Studies Ella Shohat, filmmakers Kathy Wazana, Nadia Kamel and Hassan Benjelloun and film critic Jay Weissberg. The panel discussion will be moderated by Irit Neidhart, Middle East scholar and film distributor. More about the spotlight here.
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9. NEW: FORGET BAGHDAD by Samir in mecfilm-shop.com

Timely and thought-provoking, "Forget Baghdad" takes a painfully ironic look at five Arab Jews caught up in a violent cultural identity clash. It casts a cold light on racial intolerance in Iraq, where four of the film's subjects were born, and Israel, where they now live. (Variety)

Content
A filmic reflection about the stereotypes of Jew and Arab through onehundred years of film, contrasted with the history of Jewish communists from Iraq. The protagonists are Shimon Ballas, a writer and professor of Arabic studies in Tel Aviv and Paris; the best-selling Israeli author Sami Michael from Haifa; Moshe Houri, a former dealer in real estate; writer Samir Naqqash who only publishes in the Arabic language and Ella Shohat, a Professor of Film and Cultural Studies in New York who has written a standard text on the Israeli film industry.

Samir, Switzerland/Germany 2002, 112 min
language versions: English/Arabic, German/Arabic, French/Arabic, Italian/Arabic, Spanish/Arabic, Arab short version, English version with Arab or Hebrew subtitles
Bonus 30 min
more
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