2016: Panel conversations, debates and events

Arab film days is much more than just film. In addition to a program consisting of Arab films of outstanding quality, an Arabian nights party and other festival fun, we also aim to nuance the public debate by arranging Q&A’s, director conversations and panel discussions. Here is an overview of the festivals events.  

Av 12. apr 2016

How to help the refugees in their nearby areas?
After the screening of This is Exile Friday April 15th at 16.30

A heartbreakingly honest depiction of migration seen through children’s eyes. Director Benchelah follows a group of young Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Switzerland throughout one year, and gives us a unique insight into just how simple and how complicated their reality is.

After the screening of This is Exile - Diaries of Child Refugees, there will be a panel conversation on how we can provide help to the refugees in their neighboring areas. Is it possible for Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan to receive more refugees? What role should Norway have? Moderator for the conversation is Kristian Takvam Kindt.

Journalist and director for This is Exile, Mani Benchelah and Nora Ingdal, head of education in Save the Children (Redd Barna). Arranged in collaboration with Save the Children Norway (Redd Barna).

Purchase tickets HERE


Forced marriage – a despicable cultural practice?  
After the screening of Sand Storm Saturday 16th April at 13.30

Sand Storm takes place beneath the Negev-desert’s big sky, where a feminist drama about the right to choose ones destiny plays out in a small Bedouin society. An impressive portrayal of the consequences of polygamous marriage.

After the screening of Sand Storm the panel debate will discuss questions like; what is a forced marriage? Is it a widespread practice, including in Norway? How can it be prevented?  

There will be a conversation with social anthropologist with expertise on forced marriages and researcher coordinator at Norsk Folkemuseum, Thomas M. Walle, and Hina Qazi, minority advisor at Ullsrud school. Moderator for the conversation is Kristian Takvam Kindt. 

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The Arab Spring’s last hope?
Basement of Victoria kino Saturday 16th April at 14.45 (after the screening of As I Open My Eyes that starts 13.00)

As I Open My Eyes is the story of the charming and encouraging 18-year-old singer Farah. The film remarkably portrays the mood of fear and suspiciousness in Tunisia before the Arab spring broke out.

After the screening, we will move down to the basement at Victoria kino. We will discuss how Tunisia is the only Arab country where the hope from the Arab spring still lives. Why did the Arab spring start in Tunisia, and what will happen moving forward? Can the country be a model for the rest of the region?

Participants on the panel are Riadh Ben Khalifa, professor at the University of Tunis, Ragnhild Johnsrud Zorgati, professor of religion at the University of Oslo and Tunisia-expert. Marie Gabrielsen Jumbert, senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, will lead the debate. Arranged in collaboration with Institut Francais.

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Israel – a safe haven for homosexual Palestinians?
After the screening of Oriented Saturday 16th April at 15.15

Oriented is a well produced, entertaining, and resonant documentary that tear apart stereotypes through an engaging story about homosexual Palestinian activists with Israeli citizenship, and how they experience life in Tel Aviv.

After the documentary, there will be a panel conversation about the film’s themes. What is it like to live as a Palestinian LGBT activist in Israel? Is there a difference between fighting for a Palestinian liberation and at the same time fight to receive respect for ones sexual orientation?

After the screening there will be a conversation with Khader Abu-Seif, LGBT activist in Palestina and main character in the film, led by Gjermund Granlund. Arranged in collaboration with Skeiv Ungdom Oslo.

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Films role in the immigration debate
After the screening of Fatima Saturday 16th April at 18.00

Fatima, which premiered at the Cannes film festival last year, is a sensitive drama about the challenges three women in a multicultural France meet.

After the screening, we will discuss films role in the immigration debate. What role does film play in shaping our opinion on immigrants? Are films that focus on problematic sides of immigration a positive contribution to the debate, or do they enhance prejudices and negative stereotypes?

Erik Poppe, Norwegian film director and Justine Côté, Fund Image de la Diversité will be on the panel. Project leader for Arab film days, Kristian Takvam Kindt, will lead the debate. Arranged in collaboration with Institut Francais.

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Can peace start from the ground in Syria?
After the screening of Dugma - the Button Sunday 17th April at 13.45

Dugma – The Button is an intimate portrayal of a group of men in Al-Qaida who have volunteered to do a suicide attack against Al-Assad’s regime.

The film is beautiful and introspective, and for many almost provoking in its humane representation of men who are willing to die in order to “free Allahs suppressed people”, as they say it.

After the screening, there will be a conversation with director Pål Refsdal led by Mathilde Becker Aarseth, PhD student at the University of Oslo who focuses on jihadism in Syria. Are the people on the ground in Syria interested in peace? Are there local solutions to the conflict, and how can they be created? These are questions that will be asked and discussed after the film. Arranged in collaboration with the Norwegian Peace Association (Norges Fredslag).

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France as an integration model
After the screening of Mariam Sunday 17th April at 15.15

Mariam is a resonant and charming film, where forced secularism is highlighted when 15-year-old Mariam chooses to wear a hijab to school.

After the screening, there will be a panel debate on the issues confronted in the film. Should Norway follow the French example of prohibiting hijabs and other religious symbols? Is a French version of a secular society a solution for Norway? The head of research at Fafo, Jon Rogstad will lead the debate.

These will participate in the debate: Bushra Ishaq, social commentator and winner of the Fritt Ord-prize in 2010, Mahmoud Farahmand, spokesperson for the LIM-network (Likestilling, integrering, mangfold/equality, integration and diversity) and Marc Jumbert, leader for Sciences Po Paris Alumni organization. Arranged in collaboration with Institut Francais.

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The Message
Sunday 17th April at 17.15

This year’s classic film, The Message, is an epic drama about the prophet Muhammads life and the beginning of Islam. The film will be shown in both an English and Arab version. This screening is in English, and before the film it will be introduced by writer and student at the University of Oslo, Muniba Ahmad.

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Possessed by Djinn 
Conversation with director Dalia Al Kury after the film.

Saturday 16th April at 15.45 in Victoria 3
Sunday 17th April at 19.15 in Victoria 4


Halal Love (and Sex)
Conversation with director Assad Foulhadkar after the film.

Thursday 14th April at 21.00 in Victoria 2
Saturday 16th April at 20.30 in Victoria 1


This is Exile - Diaries of Child Refugees
Conversation with director Mani Benchelah after the film.

Saturday 16th April at 21.30 in Victoria 4
Sunday 17th April at 17.45 in Victoria 4


Conversation with director Salim Abu Jabal after the film

Thursday 14th April at 21.15 in Victoria 4