2021 San Diego Arab Film Festival is Coming!

The San Diego Arab Film Festival is back for 2021 with a hybrid festival: live, in-person feature film showings at the Museum of Photographic Arts combined with a robust online offering of short films.  Both the in-person and on-line presentations begin on June 5.  The complete Festival program will be announced and ticket sales will begin on April 23.

In-person screenings will follow the COVID protocols in place at the time, but we expect that those protocols will include wearing masks and limiting attendance to 50% of theater capacity.  Because of the attendance limitations, some of the films will be screened twice.

We are excited to bring these films to the San Diego community!

Feature Films

The Festival will open with the Palestinian drama Between Heaven and Earth directed by Najwa Najjar.  The following nights will showcase 3 Oscar submissions: Sudan’s first ever submission You Will Die at 20 directed by Amjad Abu Alala, Morocco’s The Unknown Saint directed by Alaa Eddine Aljem and Lebanon’s The Broken Keys directed by Jimmy Keyrouz.  From the Arab Diaspora (France, Algeria) the Festival will present Honey Cigar directed by Kamir Ainouz.  The Festival will close with the Palestinian film 200 Meters directed by Ameen Nayfeh

Short Films

This year the Festival will offer 16 films, headlined by the Palestinian Oscar-nominated The Present by Farah Nabulsi, for viewing online.  The films from across the Arab world and the Diaspora represent a range of styles and genres, including narrative drama and comedy, documentary, animated and experimental films.

San Diego Arab Film Festival Supported By San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture for the Fifth Year

2019-2020 is the fifth year that the San Diego Arab Film Festival is receiving support from the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.  This recognition and support represents an important milestone for the Festival and for San Diego’s Arab Community: it shows that Arab culture is an important part of the fabric of San Diego!  In addition, on-going support from the Arts and Culture Commission helps lay the groundwork for the Festival’s growth as a dynamic part of San Diego’s cultural life.

Feature Films

Between Heaven and Earth

Directed by Najwa Najjar

Based on a true story, the film follows a thirty-something couple, Salma and Tamer, who have been married for the past five years but who lived on opposite sides of the Wall. The first time Tamer is ever given a three-day permit to cross the Israeli checkpoint, is to file for divorce in the courts in Nazareth. At the courthouse, they are confronted with a staggering discovery, a secret which sends Salma and Tamer spinning on a road trip exploring the loss and betrayal of the past, and of themselves.

The Unknown Saint

Directed by Alaa Eddine Aljem

Moments before his capture by police, a thief digs a grave to hide a bag of money. Released from prison years later, he returns to retrieve the bag, only to find a shrine to an unknown Saint built directly over his loot, and a brand new village constructed all around it.

Broken Keys

Directed by Jimmy Keyrouz

Karim, a pianist dreaming of a career in Europe, lives in a war-torn Middle-Eastern town where modern ways of living have been banned by an extremist group. He is forced to sell his piano to gather money and leave. But things entangle when his piano is shot. Karim then embarks on a dangerous quest to repair his broken keys.

Honey Cigar

Directed by Kamir Ainouz

Selma, 17, who lives in a bourgeois and secular Berber family. When she meets Julien in college, she realizes for the first time the impact of patriarchal rules on her intimacy.

Parental Advisory: In the US, this film would likely be rated R.

200 Meters

Directed by Ameen Nayfeh

A Palestinian father trapped on the other side of the separation wall is trying to reach the hospital for his son.

You Will Die At 20

Directed by Amjad Abu Alala

Shortly after Muzamil was born, the village’s holy man predicts that he will die at age 20. Muzamil’s father can’t stand the curse and leaves home. Sakina raises her son as a single mother, overly protective. One day, Muzamil turns 19.

San Diego Arab Film Festival Supported By San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture for the Sixth Year

2020-2021 is the sixth year that the San Diego Arab Film Festival is receiving support from the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.  This recognition and support represents an important milestone for the Festival and for San Diego’s Arab Community: it shows that Arab culture is an important part of the fabric of San Diego!  In addition, on-going support from the Arts and Culture Commission helps lay the groundwork for the Festival’s growth as a dynamic part of San Diego’s cultural life.

Financial support is provided by City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

San Diego Arab Film Festival is the registered trademark of KARAMA.

It is not affiliated with Arab Film and Media Institute or its Arab Film Festival.

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