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September/October 2012

1. New in World Sales: NATION ESTATE by Larissa Sansour
3. GATE #5 opening in German theatres
4. events
5. DVD of the Month – The One Man Village

1. New in World Sales: NATION ESTATE by Larissa Sansour

We are happy to announce, that mec film acquired World Sales rights for Larissa Sansour’s new short film NATION ESTATE.

Short Content
Nation Estate is a 9-minute sci-fi short offering a clinically dystopian, yet humorous approach to the deadlock in the Middle East.
The film explores a vertical solution to Palestinian statehood: One colossal skyscraper housing the entire Palestinian population – now finally living the high life.
Larissa Sansour, Palestine/Denmark 2012, 9 min, digital, Arabic / English

Larissa Sansour on her movie
In several projects over the past years, I have explored not only the sci-fi genre, but also the comic book superhero. Both forms have an inherent ability to make accessible the most fundamental ambitions of a people or a civilization in a way that is naturally inspired by, but never hampered or restricted by a non-fictional reality – making them fantastic conceptual and philosophical playground.

In the case of Palestine, there is an eternal sense of forecasting statehood, independence and the end of occupation. The ambitious ideas Palestinians hope to achieve have long since become so repetitive that the odd mix of nostalgia and accomplishment that the sci-fi genre often embodies lends it itself well to the topic.
Read more and view stills



Viola Shafik’s feature documentary MY NAME IS NOT ALI is officially selected to the 16th Arab Film Festival San Francisco, October 11th-21st.

His anti-racist film Ali – Fear Eats Soul (1973) gained German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder international acclaim. The protagonist, an Arab foreign worker, was played by Moroccan El Hedi Ben Salem M’barek Mohammed Mustafa, Fassbinder’s lover at that time. While the film itself courageously deals with the racism of post-war German society, its makers reproduced the insensibility and invention of the Other, fantasizing their own ‘Salem’. Collage-like, through interviews and archive material, My Name Is Not Ali uncovers the invention of El Hedi Ben Salem by the Fassbinder troupe, an image not revised by most of its members till today.
Viola Shafik, Egypt/Germany 2011, 93 min, HDCAM, German/Arabic/French with English ST
more (incl. a new review by Variety)

Koutaiba al-Janabi’s LEAVNG BAGHDAD is currently showing at Arab Film Festival Malmo in Sweden
Baghdad in the early 2000s: Sadik, a personal cameraman to Saddam Hussein escapes Iraq. Hoping to join his estranged wife in London, he traverses several countries, is passed on from one smuggler to the next. The disappearance of his son, who did not share his father’s enthusiasm for the regime, and scenes Sadik had filmed for work, haunt him alike whilst he tries to find his way out of the omnipresent and tormenting shadows of the regime.
As footage shot by fictional Sadik, Koutaiba Al-Janabi weaves real footage from Saddam Hussein’s now accessible archive into his documentary style, slow paced fiction.
Koutaiba Al-Janabi, Iraq/UAE/UK 2010, 85 min, HDCAM, Arabic/Hungarian/English with English subtitles

THE TURTLE’S RAGE by Pary El-Qalqili is showing at Asiatica Film Mediale in Rome
When I was 12 years old my father left us to return to Palestine. His dream to build a house and pursue the fight for freedom in Palestine failed. He was expelled by the Israelis. suddenly he was back in Berlin, ringing at our front door. My mother looked at him, did not say a word and let him in. Now he spends his days sitting in the cellar of our small row house. Withdrawn in his turtle shell. My mother lives upstairs. They are not fighting anymore. They try not to cross each other´s path. Not a sound is to be heard. Only the creaking steps of my mother on the stairs. The whirr of the television. And my nagging questions to my father.
The Turtle´s Rage tells the story of a mysterious man, whose life has been molded by flight, expulsion, life in exile and the failed return to Palestine. A torn biography which was affected tremendously by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film is composed of a daughter’s search for answers from her father. Answers he cannot give.
A road movie crossing Egypt, Palestine and Jordan. Father and daughter: Fighting at the airport. Singing with the cab drivers. Lonely nights in hotels. Negotiations at abandoned gas stations. Drinking beer in the Naqab-desert. A story traversed by many nuances, which makes it nearly impossible to think in categories like „good and bad“,“victim and offender“ or „black and white“.
Germany 2012, 70 min, digital, German/Arabic

3. GATE #5 opening in German theatres

Simon El Habre’s GATE #5 is opening in German theatres on October 9th. The release is made possible with the support of the Distribution Award of Dubai Film Market/ Film Connection.

They were young, loved adventures and had choices. In the 1960s and 70s thousands of young Lebanese left their villages and searched for a new life in the city – as countless like-minded people around the globe. The port of Beirut, the city’s economic lung and central urban district, provided work for truck drivers - a job that stressed masculinity and became a lifestyle. The income allowed the young men to participate in the vibrant urban life, to enjoy their time at the always busy Burj Square with its many cinemas and restaurants as well as to start families.
During the years of the civil war (1975-90) the drivers were needed to maintain the supply of food, goods, and sometime weapons between the divided sectors of country. Some were humble, others were heroic, yet all were adventuresomeness and felt free.
After the war ended the once popular Burj Square, the city’s centre, was demolished, privatized and rebuild for the affluent. Lebanese economy was reorganized, thus globalized. Today fancy restaurants in the new downtown charge in Dollar and sometimes in Euro.
The truck drivers’ universe shrunk to the port where they offer their skills as day laborers now. Yet mostly they kill time and take long journeys in memory. One of them, Najm El Habre, is too sick to join his friends. He found a different way to carry on.

4. events

Irit Neidhardt (mec film), together with actor Michael Schenk (The White Ribbon; The Baader-Meinhoff Complex) and painter/director Enrique Collar (Novena) is member f the main jury of 27th Osnabrueck Independent Film Festival in Germany, running from October 10th till 14th.

On the symposium HEROS TODAY of German Cinémathèque / Film-museum Berlin which is taking place in the framework of the actual exhibition “Heroes. An exhibition for children”, Irit Neidhardt will speak about Arab super heroes and moderate the Q&A with Naif Al-Mutawa, writer of THE 99.

5. DVD of the Month  - The One man village

A wonderful work, in every aspect. radioeins
A film full of poetry and simple worldly wisdom. Berliner Morgenpost
A film that goes under the skin. Al-Mustaqbal
It looks like, this film is the major cinematographic event of the year 2008 in Beirut. Al-Akhbar

Semaan is leading a quiet life on his farm in the small village Ain el-Halazoun in the Lebanese mountains. The hamlet was completely emptied and destroyed in combats during the civil war in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990. Today, many years after an official reconciliation, its inhabitants which are all from one family regularly go back to the village to cultivate their plots of land or visit their houses and always leave before sunset.
In his comforting and humorous film Simon El Habre observes the life in his quasi ghost village and tries to reflect on the collective and individual memory in a country that seems to live in a collective amnesia and is vulnerable to a new civil war.

Lebanon 2009, Simon El Habre, documentary, 86min, Arabic
Subtitles: English, French (problem in synchronization of titles in French), German, Serbian, Spanish, Italian
Bonus: Deleted Scenes, Sort-film, Making-Of
PAL, region free

Memory, Amnesia, Lebanon, Civil War, War of the Mountains, Couf, Jebel al-Shuf, Alternative Life, Peasant

Awards (Selection)
Hot Docs: Best International Feature 2009
Dubai International Film Festival: Special Jury Award, Arab Documentary 2008
One World International Documentary Film Festival Prague: Special Mention 2009
Monaco Charity Film Festival: Special Jury Award (Documentary Films) 2009
Arab Film Festival Rotterdam: Silver Hawk 2009
Expresión en Corto (Mexico):  Honorable Mention Feature Length Documentary 2009
AMAL - Euro-Arab Film Festival: Best Documentary 2010
Murex D'Or: Best Lebanese Cinema Movie of the Years 2008/9

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