Buy Tickets Here

2011 Arab Film Festival 

December 1-4, 2011

Lower Level Auditorium 
Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn MI 48126 

Tickets required

Before The Spring: 
Alternative Arab Cinema from 2005 to Today

ARTeEASTPresented by the Arab American National Museum in collaboration with ArteEast

With the outbreak of massive pro-democracy uprisings that have swept the Arab World since December 2010, the term “Arab Spring” has acquired a whole new meaning; one that holds far more positive connotations for Arabs across the world than it did when it was first coined in 2005 to suggest the benefits Arabs were to reap shortly after, and as a direct result of, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

During these six years, between the first patronizing usage of this term and the recent storm of independent people-led Arab revolutionary waves that led to its reemergence in a new context, several filmmakers across Arab countries have been actively and innovatively depicting, questioning and challenging the status quo, employing a variety of approaches that ranged from analytical to highly critical and sometimes simply observational.

This program reflects the broad spectrum of themes, visual styles and unique cinematic languages reflected in the works of a number of filmmakers from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Palestine and Iraq from 2005 through today.

Festival schedule is subject to change.



5:30 p.m. Opening Reception with deluxe refreshments

6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1


Dir: Kamla Abu Zikry
105 min.

Today is the final of the African Nations Cup 2008. And today, eight characters will be dealing with situations that further complicate their already complicated lives. At times of frustration with the political, economic and social realities, will the victory of the Egyptian football team consign to oblivion, even if only for one night, everyday troubles?
Arabic with English subtitles.

Winner, Muhr Awards for Best Cinematographer and Best Screenplay, 2009 Dubai Int’l Film Festival

“Few ensemble films are as well conceived and executed…In structure and tone, the pic shows its debts to Western indie cinema, yet proudly retains its Egyptian flavor, once again proving the versatility and talent brewing in the region.”
-Jay Weissberg, Variety


6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2

Omar Amiralay

A Tribute to Omar Amiralay

Omar Amiralay was one of Syria’s premiere documentary filmmakers, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 67. One of the Arab World’s most outspoken and influential filmmakers, Amiralay’s work offers a critique of political and socio-economic problems that have plagued the region for decades. He was a leading figure of the “Damascus Spring” movement and one of the signatories of the Declaration of the 99. Just a few days before his death, Amiralay signed a declaration, along with many other influential Syrian figures, in support of the recent protests in Egypt.

A Flood in Baath Country/Toufan Fi Balad Al Baath
Dir: Omar Amiralay
46 min.

In 1970, a young Syrian filmmaker, filled with revolutionary fervor, made a beautiful film-poem (Film Essay on the Euphrates Valley) to celebrate the great strides his nation was making towards modernization. 35 years later, the same filmmaker, Omar Amiralay, returns to the site of his first film, this time to atone for his “error of youth.” The dam whose construction he depicted has collapsed. In the village of Al-Machi, Amiralay looks unblinkingly at what has become of the dream of Arab socialism. Arabic with English subtitles.

“Amiralay's brilliance came to the fore when, without narration, he let his interviewees talk, and through their comments, viewers could clearly see the failure of the Syrian system, including parliament, government and schools. “ – Hussain Abdul-Hussain, The Majalla

The Misfortunes of Some/Massa’ibu Qawmen
Dir: Omar Amiralay
52 min.

Hajj Ali makes a living as a taxi driver during the day, carrying citizens safely across the city, but he also runs a funeral home, waiting for “customers” to be delivered daily. As he documents one man’s existence in a civil war-ravaged Beirut, Amiralay creates a tragicomic portrait of a society held captive by conflict. Arabic with English subtitles.


Noon Saturday, Dec. 3

Tomorrow 6:30/Bokra Sitteh W’Noss
Dir: Gilles Tarazi
23 min.

Farid has received his visa for emigration and ties up loose ends during his last night in Beirut. Alternately witty and melancholic, reflective and brash, the film captures the nervous energy of bidding farewells to the people and city that make one’s home. Arabic with English subtitles.


Dir: Raed & Rania Rafei
49 min.

In March 1974, a group of Lebanese radical leftist students occupied the campus of the American University of Beirut (AUB), as a protest against cultural and political imperialism and social injustices at a time when Lebanon was sliding into civil violence. Prologue revisits this emblematic incident in the history of the country through the eyes of young political activists and explores the sequence of events that led to the occupation of AUB in 1974 in light of present-day Arab revolutions. The film meticulously deconstructs the themes pertaining to any revolution: what drives change? What mobilizes the masses? What is the place of revolutionary violence? Prologue blurs the lines between reality and fiction, action and intention, past and present. Prologue is the initial phase of a feature film project on the 1974 occupation of the American University of Beirut. Arabic with English subtitles.


2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3

I Want to See (Je Veux Voir)

I Want to See (Je Veux Voir)
Dir: Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige
70 min.

While in Beirut to attend a glamorous banquet, legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve (Potiche, Belle de Jour) insists on being taken to the southern regions of Lebanon in order to see first-hand the devastation caused by Israel's month-long bombing campaign there in the summer of 2006. Cleverly blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, the directors create a mesmerizing, thought-provoking travelogue in which they appear as filmmakers capturing Deneuve's road trip on camera. French and Arabic with English subtitles. 

“A fascinating little film in which Deneuve’s disorientation comes to stand for that distance we all feel in the West when forced to think about the reality behind the headlines and news reports.” –Jon Fortgang, Film4

“This is a potent and intriguing cinema of ideas.” –Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

VHS Kahloucha

VHS Kahloucha
Dir: Néjib Belkadhi
80 min.

This documentary on amateur Tunisian filmmaker Moncef Kahloucha rolls at least three films into one. Kahloucha produces, directs, buys props, casts parts, edits – and eventually premieres his Tarzan of the Arabs to Tunisian immigrants in Sicily. Belkhadi’s film is a charming elegy to the mystique of cinema and the passions it inspires. Arabic with English subtitles.

Winner, Muhr Award for Best Director, 2006 Dubai Int’l    Film Festival

“More than simply an affectionate and quirky profile of the man best described as the Arab World's own Ed Wood, Kahloucha subtly weaves in commentary on the North African diaspora for a more pointed look than might initially be expected.” -Jay Weissberg, Variety


Noon Sunday, Dec. 4

The Shooter/Al-Takheekh

The Shooter/Al-Takheekh
Dir: Ihab Jadallah
8 min.

Ramallah-based filmmaker Jadallah engages critically and satirically with the unspoken subtext of violence that surrounds representations of Palestine. The Shooter is a parody in which Palestinians are consciously “performing” the typecasting. Arabic with English subtitles.

The Time That Remains/Al-Zaman al-Baqi

The Time That Remains/Al-Zaman al-Baqi
Dir: Elia Suleiman
2009/Palestine/United Kingdom/Italy/Belgium/France
109 min.

Subtitled Chronicle of a Present Absentee, this humorous, heartbreaking film, (the final installment in a trilogy) is set among the Israeli Arab community and shot largely in homes and places in which Suleiman’s family once lived. Inspired by his father’s diaries and the director’s own recollections, the film spans from 1948 until the present, recounting the saga of Suleiman’s family in elegantly stylized episodes. Inserting himself as a silent observer reminiscent of Buster Keaton, Suleiman trains a keen eye on the absurdities of life in Nazareth. Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles.


All screenings take place in the intimate 156-seat Auditorium on the Lower Level of the Arab American National Museum (AANM), 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan.

Free, lighted parking is available in the municipal lot behind the Museum; enter lot by turning north from Michigan Avenue onto Neckel Street, immediately west of the AANM.

For driving directions, click HERE or call 313.582.2266. For further information, call 313.624.0215 or email


Buy Tickets Here

To purchase tickets IN ADVANCE, please click HERE and use a debit/credit card.

Tickets will also be available at the door; cash or debit/credit card.

To become a Member of the Arab American National Museum and take advantage of reduced rates on this and other event tickets, call 313.624.0200 or click HERE.


AANM Member $16
Non-member $18


Individual AANM Member package $7
Individual non-member package $9

Select one or more of the following packages:

Package A

Package B
Omar Amiralay Tribute:
A Flood in Baath Country/Toufan Fi Balad Al Baath
The Misfortunes of Some/Massa’ibu Qawmen

Package C
Tomorrow 6:30/Bokra Sitteh W’Noss

Package D
I Want to See (Je Veux Voir)
VHS Kahloucha

Package E
The Shooter/Al-Takheekh
The Time That Remains/Al-Zaman al-Baqi

Festival schedule is subject to change.

The 2011 Arab Film Festival is made possible in part by

Kresge Foundation DoubleTree Hotel - Detroit/Dearborn
13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI 48126 - Phone (313) 582-AANM (2266) A Project of ACCESS