Dublin Arabic Film Festival 2019

Lineup up announced for 6th Dublin Arabic Film Festival

The sixth annual Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF), curated by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan and Festival Director Zahara Moufid, will open on Friday, October 4th at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Dublin’s Temple Bar. The festival, which runs until Sunday, October 6th, has been developed in partnership with the IFI and is again presented by Dubai Duty Free.

This year, DAFF has announced that actor Liam Cunningham (Game of ThronesHungerThe Wind That Shakes the Barley) will be the event’s inaugural Festival Patron.

This year’s festival will include five films at the IFI including the curtain-raiser The Reports on Sarah and Saleem, Muayad Alayan’s drama centred on the clandestine affair between a Palestinian deliveryman and an Israeli cafe owner. Stephanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff’s documentary about Saudi poet Hissa Hilal, The Poetess, and Soudade Kaadan’s Syrian drama The Day I Lost My Shadow will screen on Saturday 5th. The final two festival films, The Tower from director Mats Grorud and Nour Eddine Lakhmari’s Burnout, will hit the big screen on Sunday 6th; Burnout will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Nour Eddine Lakhmari and producer Khadija Alami. A free screening of Nora Twomey’s Oscar-nominated animation The Breadwinner will screen at Chester Beatty library at 14.00 on Saturday 5th.

DAFF has proved to be a great success since its inaugural year in 2014 when movie legend Omar Sharif opened the festival. Over the past four years, DAFF has attracted dedicated film fans, directors and actors from all over the world including Dubai, Egypt and Morocco. 

This year there is a common theme of displacement which runs through many of the films we have selected. We live in strange times, where it quite often seems that society is becoming less tolerant of different cultures. This festival aims to embrace difference and to encourage tolerance. It further aims to create greater understanding of the Arab world, its people and the wonderful films that are currently being made in the region. It is also a huge honour for us that two Moroccan filmmakers, director, Nour Eddine Lakhmari and producer, Khadija, Alami will also join us for the festival bringing it to a close on Sunday, 6th October. I also want to take use this opportunity to thank Zahara Moufid who co-curated this festival for her great work. We hope the audiences will enjoy the choice of the movies as much as we do.

Jim Sheridan, Festival President

Dubai Duty Free is happy to be the presenting sponsor of the Dublin Arabic Film Festival once again. We first started our sponsorship of the festival in 2014. That year, the legendary Omar Sharif was the guest of honour and helped to promote the great work that Arab film makers and actors are doing all around the world. This festival has continued to promote Arab culture through the medium of film and fits with our sponsorship portfolio of the arts and cultural events. We wish the curators of the festival, Zahara Moufid and Jim Sheridan the very best of luck in their endeavous and look forward to yet another great festival of film and culture.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO – Dubai Duty Free

The IFI is proud to partner with the Dublin Arabic Film Festival for its sixth edition. The programme once again showcases the strong and diverse output of Middle Eastern and North African cinemas, exploring a wide range of socially and culturally significant stories and experiences. The festival continues to play a hugely important role in our annual exhibition calendar, and we look forward to welcoming the festival and Liam Cunningham, its inaugural Patron, to the IFI this October.

Ross Keane, Director – IFI

Featuring stand-out performances from Adeeb Safadi and Sivane Kretchner, The Reports on Sarah and Saleem focuses on a clandestine affair between a Palestinian deliveryman and an Israeli café owner, both seeking to escape the pressures of their respective marriages. The two live on opposite sides of Jerusalem, and the risk of exposure comes at a great cost. When a late-night tryst in Bethlehem goes awry, the repercussions turn their romance into a minor international crisis involving the secret police, forced confessions and Saleem’s arrest in Israel under false charges.

Saudi poetess Hissa Hilal made headlines around the world as the first woman to ever make it to the final of Million’s Poet, an Abu-Dhabi based multi-million dollar reality television show. It is the Arab world’s biggest poetry competition, and is dominated by men. In her poems, Hissa criticises the patriarchal Arab society and she attacks one of the most notorious Saudi clerics for his extremist fatwas, live, in front of 75 million viewers. Stephanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff’s The Poetess tells the story of a woman who grabs the opportunity to speak up against religious extremism and stand up for a peaceful Islam. 

Set in 2012 at the beginning of the war in Syria, The Day I Lost My Shadow sees a young pharmacist in Damascus struggling to give her son as normal a childhood as possible. With water, gas and electricity in short supply, Sana sets off on a search that becomes increasingly dangerous when she encounters both her worst fears and the kindness of strangers.

Animated film The Tower centres on Wardi, an eleven-year-old Palestinian girl, living with her whole family in the refugee camp where she was born. Her beloved great-grandfather Sidi was one of the first people to settle in the camp after being chased from his home back in 1948. The day Sidi gives her the key to his old house back in Galilee, she fears he may have lost hope of someday going home. Wardi goes looking for his lost hope around the camp, collecting her family’s testimonies along the way,

The festival’s closing film, Nour Eddine Lakhmari’s Burnout, examines the interconnected destinies of three disparate characters in the Moroccan metropolis of Casablanca. A thirteen-year-old shoe-shine boy dreams of buying a prosthesis for his one-legged mother; a middle-aged entrepreneur wants to free himself from the obsessions of his late father; and a 25-year old hospital intern leads a dangerous double life as an escort for wealthy clients. The screening of Burnout will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Nour Eddine Lakhmari and producer Khadija Alami.


Friday, October 4th
20.20     The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (IFI)

Saturday, October 5th
14.00     The Breadwinner (Chester Beatty Library)
15.30     The Poetess (IFI)
17.30     The Day I Lost My Shadow (IFI)

Sunday, October 6th
13.20     The Tower (IFI)
15.20    Burnout + Q&A (IFI)