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Crossroads to Culture: Cinema(s) in the Arab World

08.02.2015 - Hania Mroué, Irit Neidhardt, Jean-Pierre Rehm, Youssef Shazli

The past decade has witnessed a boom in filmmaking in the Arab world, which has in turn seen a marked return to the local art house cinema as a space of viewership, meeting and cultural exchange for both local audiences as well as in a broader international context. Noted distributors and cinema exhibitors from Beirut, Cairo and Berlin committed to bringing Arab films to local and international audiences will explore the current opportunities in and challenges to exhibition and distribution. This session will explore not only how local cinemas are reemerging as bustling hubs of alternative culture, but it also will examine the difficulties faced by distributors and filmmakers as they try to transfer Arab culture to spaces outside of the Arab world.


Hania Mroué

photo of Hania Mroué
Founding member of the cinema association Beirut DC and founder and director of Metropolis Art Cinema. She managed Med-Screen, a Euromed Audiovisual II project for the promotion of Arab cinema, which presented Arab films at the two largest European film markets: Berlin and Cannes. She is also the director of Talents Beirut. Hania will share her expertise about filmmaking in the Arab world and discuss challenges facing Arab filmmakers today.

Irit Neidhardt

photo of Irit Neidhardt
Iris Neidhardt runs Mec Film, a distribution and co-production company for films from the Middle East and North Africa. Since 1995, she has taught and curated in the field of Arab cinema. She is the author of various articles on subjects relating to cinema and the Middle East, focusing on issues of co-operation and financing.

Jean-Pierre Rehm

photo of Jean-Pierre Rehm
French film theorist, critic and director of the FID Marseille (International Film Festival Marseille) since 2002. He was a lecturer of history and theory of film and art, worked at the French Ministry of Culture and is an editor of Cahiers du Cinéma. He has curated a number of exhibitions of contemporary art, in France as well as in Egypt (Cairo Museum of Modern Art), the Netherlands (Witte de With, Rotterdam) and Japan (Yokohama Art Center).

Youssef Shazli

photo of Youssef Shazli
Born and raised in Cairo, Youssef Shazli studied International Development at McGill University and joined Misr International Films (MIF) and its initiative, the Panorama of the European Film, currently in its ninth run. In 2014, he launched Zawya Cinema, one of Egypt's first arthouse cinemas, and most recently Zawya Distribution, an initiative to promote Egyptian arthouse films locally and abroad.