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22nd Franco Arab Film Festival to feature UNICEF’s ‘In their Own Words’

By Sara Gharaibeh - May 25,2016 - Last updated at May 25,2016

AMMAN – In its 22nd cycle, the Franco Arab Film Festival is featuring this year short movies highlighting stories and aspirations of Syrian children in cooperation with UNICEF.

The series “In their Own Words” by UNICEF, sheds light on the impact of the five-year war in Syria on children, particularly on their education, said a UNICEF representative, adding that 2.8 million children inside and outside Syria currently have no access to education, due to bombing, destruction of schools and lack of safety on routes. 

The UNICEF hopes that the screenings will help the unheard voices of children to reach the world.

Consisting of 12 short movies, the series will highlight the aspirations of Syrian children, some still in Syria and some refugees in other countries, amid an uncertain future. 

The festival will start on Saturday and continue until June 4.

The Franco Arab Festival, an annual festival organised by Institut Français in partnership with the Royal Film Commission (RFC) that features Arabic-French film productions, will also be throwing light this year on the subject of women in the Arab world with the majority of screened films featuring stories of challenges for women in Arab communities and represented by strong inspirational characters, according Stephan Delaporte, director of Institut Français. 

One of these films is Cesar-Awards-winner “Fatima” by Phillippe Faucon, which will be screened on Saturday at the Rainbow Theatre. It tells the story of an immigrant cleaning lady who is writing what she cannot tell her to French-speaking daughters.

The festival will feature fiction and documentary films from Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria and France.

The festival will also include the 10th Jordanian short film competition, in which 16 Jordanian films were chosen, tackling the conflicts and refugee crisis in the region. 

The films, which also address some social issues, will be judged by a jury panel and by the audience, to grant the Falcon Awards. 

At a press conference on Tuesday, Nada Doumani, communication and culture manager of the RFC, said the competition does not only support filmmakers in Jordan, but is also an opportunity to get introduced to Paris film industry, noting that France is number one sponsor of Arab cinema.

In addition to the Falcon awards, winners of the competition will be invited to the Franco-Arab Film Festival in Noisy-Le-Sec, in the eastern suburbs of Paris, in November.

Jordanian filmmaker and member of the jury Rifki Assaf said the festival and the competition offer an opportunity to give a voice to Arab cinema.

 

The festival will conclude with the screening of the Tunisian-French-Belgian drama “As I open my eyes”, in the presence of its lead actress Ghalia Benali, who is also a member of the short film competition jury.

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