Eleven films brought wonder and reflection, tears and laughter to Arabian Film Days 2012. Films from the South and BABEL filmklubb would like to thank the audience, guests, supporters and each other for a brilliant festival. Here are some of the highlights from the staff…
– My highlight of the festival was when we worked nervously in the office on Saturday morning to get everything ready for the opening and I got a call from someone at the entrance saying that there was a queue out the door, says Heidi Palm Sandberg, Managing Director of the Films from the South Foundation.
Nothing delights a festival team more than full house! We had 1,867 visitors this year, compared to last year's 981, and they covered a wide spectrum with age going from 3 to 70 years.
– The sold-out opening was my highlight. I am very pleased that so many saw Amara’s documentary from Syria - it gives hope for the future, says Camilla Hellum, who has worked as an intern for the Foundation this spring.
Through eleven feature films and documentaries spread over twenty screenings, the audience was served with interesting and nuanced glimpses of the Arab world. Half of the screenings were sold out, the remaining were very well attended.
– A really good festival buzz is any festival staff’s dream, the Arabian Filmdays delivered the goods, says Artistic Director of the Foundation Lasse Skagen. – Not least, it was good to meet the directors invited – with a broad smiles and plenty of compliments in their pockets.
Arabian Filmdays was filled with solid and international guests, who gave the festival an extra breath of world.
- They were interesting, funny and warmhearted, says Pia Ilonka Schenk Jensen, festival producer for Films from the South.
- I was very touched by the film Salaam Dunk, says Pia. - There are some really great people out there that we are so lucky to get to know through such good films.
– The Egyptian classic The Beginning of 1986 must also be mentioned, a rare pearl. If you ever get the chance to watch it, grab it with both hands, recommends Julia Fernander Smit, editor for Films from the South.
– From a weekend of highlights, I will highlight our self-dubbed animated Muhammad - The last Prophet, says Kristian Takvam Kindt from the festival's artistic leadership. – Also, the fact that so many children took part in the festival with two full screenings was a real highlight for me.
"Why are there so many adults at the children film?" one of the film's younger audience asked. Good question, we’ll keep it in mind for the next festival!
Saturday night it was time to party at Ben's Café. – 200 people partying both inside and outside is a lot of fun! Arabic rhythms forced me out on the dance floor, says Gjermund Granlund from the artistic leadership of Arabian Filmdays. – It was the perfect ending to an exciting day in the cinema!
The two-day adventure of impressions, expressions and opinions from the Arab world is over for now. Have a look at the press list to gaze at the fantastic coverage achieved by the festival and the issues it raised, with contributions from the NRK, Ny Tid, Al-Jazeera, Aftenposten and Akers Avis Groruddalen, among many others. Arabian Filmdays would like to thank the audience and its partners for the 2012 edition. We are already looking forward to next year’s festival!