2020 San Diego Arab Film Festival Goes Online June 20

Due to COVID 19, the San Diego Arab Film Festival is replacing its traditional with an online edition.

The online edition is being presented through Festival Scope.  Unfortunately, not all of the films we had expected to screen will participate in the online edition.  But we will have 6 feature films and 6 shorts.  You can see which films are included below.

The films will be offered for viewing at no cost (but donations will be gratefully accepted) beginning on June 20.  The number of viewers for each film will be limited, so reserve your spots soon!

To get more information about the films and to reserve your viewing, go to 2020.San Diegoaff.org.

Thank you for your support and your patience!

The Knight and the Princess

This journey, based on a true story, follows the heroic young man of fifteen – Mohammed Al Kassim. In the seventh century A.D pirates pillage ships in search of riches and sin, but our protagonist Al Kassim seeks to end the pirates reign with his youthful energy, his excellence with the sword , but most importantly his idealistic naivety. During one of his battles, he happened to save a young lady from the land of Sind – Princess Lubnah. It is the love story of “The Knight and The Princess.”

Al Kassim faces many trials and tribulations in his search for justice. He angers the tyrant King Daher of the land of Sind. Daher is responsible for the pirates and the many injustices that Al Kassim wishes to eradicate. Additionally, he wishes to destroy Al Kassim as his sorcerer tells him of a prophecy regarding a young man named Mohammed that will invade the land of Sind and defeat Daher. On the behest of his King Daher, the sorcerer attempts to control two funny yet mischievous jinn characters in order to keep Al Kassim off the path of the land of Sind. The back and forth power struggle escalates into an epic encore of a war with battle-tested elephants, hundreds of horses, and the fight against good and evil.

The story is dramatized with an original score and 5 original songs.  The voices of the characters are brought to life by well-known Egyptian actors.

For more information and to see a trailer, click here.


During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon at a private school on the outskirts of Beirut, 11-year-old Wissam tries to tell a classmate about his crush on her, while his teachers on different sides of the political divide, try to mask their fears.

For more information and to see a trailer, click here.

Mirrors of Diaspora

Mirrors of Diaspora is a multi-character story of seven Iraqi artists with more than forty years of exile, creativity, alienation, memories, nostalgia, survivals, and war between them.

On the 15th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Mirrors of Diaspora explores themes of exile, creativity, identity and war told through the lives of seven Iraqi artists living outside the country of their birth for close to half a century. The artists featured in this documentary belong to a group known as ‘Iraqi Artists in Exile’.

Filmed over three decades, this ambitious project explores their challenges, failures and successes, both as artists and in their private lives: from the time they graduated from art school in the 1970s, working as street artists in the piazzas of Rome and Florence, to becoming well-known. The central question the film poses is: what are the consequences of spending most of one’s life in exile?

At a time of unprecedented global migration when barely a day passes without a tragic story played out in the international media, Mirrors of Diaspora contributes to greater understanding of one of the defining issues of our time.

We believe that this film would be rated G in the US.

Falafel sandwiches and desserts will be served beginning at 5:15 PM and can purchased separately.

For more information and to see a trailer, click here.

The Journey of the Others and Ambience

The second weekend of the San Diego Arab Film Festival opens with two films. First is Ambience, a short film from Palestine that tells the story of two young Palestinians who try to record a demo for a Music Competition inside a noisy crowded refugee camp.  Unable to complete the recording because of the chaos of the place, they discover an authentic way allow them to meet the deadline creatively.

The second film is The Journey of the Others, set in the Jenin refugee camp at the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada. At the Freedom Theater a group of brave theater actors have developed a play that puts their idea of theater and art at the heart of peaceful cultural resistance.

For more information and to see a trailer, click here.

Director Jaime Villarreal has accepted our invitation to attend and is reviewing his schedule to very whether he can come to present his film!


Shorts Program

Ambience, 15:00, directed by Wisam Al Jafari
Two young Palestinians try to record a demo for a Music Competition inside a noisy crowded refugee camp, while failing recording because of the chaos of the place, they discover an authentic way allow them to meet the deadline creatively.

La Dame E Le Roi, 24:00, directed by Anis Absi
Leila, an 11-year-old girl who lives in France, she returned with her family to spend the summer holidays as every year.  Ahmed is Leila’s only friend in Tunisia so she decided to provide him with a visa and take him with her to France.

Zahra’s Letter, 15:00, directed by Paula Palacios
Zahra is a Palestinian woman from Syria who like thousands of refugees, has just arrived in Germany. But she has left behind her younger son. Osama lost 35 kg during the war and one day he disappeared from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, the most emblematic place of the Syrian war, where he lived with his family. Zahra decides to write a letter to her son from Germany: to tell him how she has arrived in Europe with his disabled sister, how the family is, how is their day to day life in the new city…Her letter without address is a desperate love letter.

Karim’s Role, 7:00, directed by Yassin Oukhiar
Karim, an actor fed up with just playing terrorist roles, shares his sorrows with two of his friends – Dani and Bea – while having a drink. Subsequent events will make that conversation especially relevant and put each of them to the test.

Moderately Satisfied, 12:47, directed by Hind Anabtawi
When visiting her terminally ill mother for the first time in months, an estranged daughter find new answers about her relationship with her bitter mother, while filling out a patient satisfaction survey. For the first time, the two finally meet halfway.

Homecoming, 5:43, directed by Malak Wazne
Mariam Jalloul is the first student accepted to Harvard from Fordson High School; located in Dearborn, Michigan- the city with the most concentrated amount Arabs and Muslims outside of    the Middle East. Mariam’s acceptance is historical to the community. This is the story of how Mariam leaves home, navigates her identity, and finds her way back; all while tearing down    barriers.

We believe that these films would likely be rated G or PG in the US.

For more information, click here.


Soumaya is an executive in a transport company. After fourteen years of employment, she learned overnight that she had been dismissed and discovered the reasons for her dismissal on television that same evening. She then decides to exercise a very particular right of reply.

For more information and to see a trailer, click here.


Abla runs a modest local bakery from her home in Casablanca where she lives alone with her 8-year-old daughter Warda. Their routine of housework and homework is interrupted one day by a knock on the door. It is Samia, a young woman looking for a job and a roof over her head. The little girl is immediately taken with the newcomer, but her mother initially refuses to allow a pregnant stranger into their home. Gradually, however, Abla’s resolve softens and Samia’s arrival begins to offer all of them the prospect of a new life.

For more information and to see a trailer, click here.

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.

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 Festival or Arab Film and Media Institute.

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