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That was a wonderful festival!

The MENA Film Festival presents a contemporary picture of the cultural, political, social and artistic situation in the Middle East and North Africa by filmmakers from these areas. On 20, 21 and 22 May 2021, you watched feature films, documentaries and short films selected by festival director Mohammad Amin for three days.

 

More than 3,000 people watched one or more films on the online channel in three days. The audience did not only come from the Netherlands and the MENA area, but from all over the world from Australia to Canada and from South Africa to South America. A three-person jury, consisting of internationally renowned journalists, scientists and filmmakers, judged the feature films this year: Karim Traïdia, the Algerian-Dutch film director, Elaheh Nobakht, a young Iranian film pioneer and Hammadi Gueroum, Moroccan writer, film professional and film professor.

 

They rated films in 4 categories.

 

The winners:

  • Best Feature Film: Mother, I am Joseph by Mohamed Reza Fartousi (Iran –Iraq)
  • Best Director: Time to Leave by Orhan Tekoglu (TUR)
  • Winner of the Justice and Peace award (feature film) is: Khartoum offside by Marwa Zein (Soudan)
  • Best Feature Documentary Award: When the snow melts down - Aleksei Golovkov (RUS)
  • Honorable Mention: DIMA PUNK by Dominique Caubet (Fr-Mar) Audience award / popular vote best film: Mother, I'm Joseph by Mohammad Reza Fartousi (Iran / Iraq) by 67% of the votes.

 

Read the juryreport here.

Once a punk... always a punk ? Stof is a young punk from Casablanca. During the eight years that we followed him, he tried to set his Mohawk against all odds. He pays a heavy price for his independence when he finds himself arrested and imprisoned for eleven months. Will he remain “Dima Punk”, forever a punk?

"Sa’ad" is a boy who loves football with big dreams. After he loses his eyesight and friends in a mortar explosion, he falls into a big depression and locks himself up at home. It is his mother with so many efforts and creativity who brings him back to life again…

Short film

Places can tell stories of people who once passed by, and this house tells the story of a family destroyed by war.

Short film

A group of young ladies in Khartoum are determined to play football professionally. They are prepared to defy the ban imposed by Sudan’s Islamic Military government. Their battle to get officially recognized as Sudan’s National Woman’s team is fearless, courageous and often laughable. Through the intimate portrait of these women over a number of years we follow their moments of hope and deception. There is a new spark of hope when the elections within the federation could mean real change of the entire system.

Two people. Two different worlds. He is a hermit and a reindeer herder. His home is mountains and taiga covered with snow. He depends only on himself, because his life is absolute freedom. She is a resident of Rome, devotes almost all of her time to work and travels around Italy only for a short time of rest. Their worlds are so different that it seems that there can be nothing in common between them. But they both know how quickly life changes.

A soldier who has gone through several wars, however today he is a mere criminal and is fleeing from justice. The man has lost everything: his house, his family, even his own name. Ending up in an empty house where he finds shelter, he spends time by himself and takes to recollecting the past. He decides to stop fighting and gives up.

However, it turns out that the place and everything that surrounds him, as well as his sole interlocutor in that house, all have played a role in his life - until the moment he died.

Short film

Joseph ran away from Saddam's agents because he didn't want to fight in Iraq - Iran war. Nobody has any news of him for 21 years. After the Allies invade Iraq, some news is heard about Joseph

Time to Leave” about a father, whose son – living in Germany – turned ill and wanted to come back and live with the father in a cottage in a mountain area. The father prepares his return, but the son dies and the father regrets that he had no contact with the son, when he was in prison because of drugs.

This poetry film is about the permanent struggle, an individual faces between following his dreams and the bitterness of reality. The film represents what people live in the case of the loss, dispersion, and pursuit of stable work, whatever work, whether within or against the desires of the individual, far from all dreams and childish creative ideas. We live in a time when there is no place for dreams.

Short film

CONGRATULATIONS TO SONA SAHAKIAN!

 

"The film "Everything comes and goes" is about the transience and the cycle of human existence. I experience the corona time as an event where everything comes and goes. Life is endless and infinite, and birth and death are only transitions. Change always takes place and destruction, destruction and decay leading to a new existence. So I want to show that you need to appreciate, enjoy and have a positive outlook on all the little things in your life, no matter how difficult the situation is."

Following nonlinear, fragmented, almost irrational narrative, the film attempts to be a revelation of its maker fears and anxieties.  In this self-reflexive task, the film does not tell a “story” in the traditional sense; rather, it reflects upon the mystery of poetry, love, and the very nature of filmmaking.

Short film

Mohamed is an artist, blind and homeless. His life is a melody of dreams and passion. The film is a journey to this universe through the vagabond footsteps of Mohamed and his voice always free

Short film

"To travel it's not about getting to the destination, it's about the dream you put in your luggage" An old actor loves the stage and the camera lens. He wished he could play his first leading role: his own role. His character plays a play about a shoemaker who wishes he could represent the common people in the presidential election. What is real and what is not? It is a story about absence and memories of absence. Regardless of the color of your passport, there is the country of birth and the country of being.

A strange night calls for a computer technician to stop at a train station - unusually - on his way home to meet suspicious people through which he discovered a murder that occurred ten years ago at the same station.

Short film

While going out early, playing for the first time, with his friends, Omar will live playful situations as stimulating as worrying. It starts with ordinary games and ends in a collective larceny. A larceny that will destabilize the inside of the pre-teenager.

Short film

Maria's trust has been betrayed and broken. She works in a private helpline providing psychological assistance to people in need. Hicham was left by his wife because of physical attacks and mental health
agression. He is literally at the brink of suicide. His only hope is to get in contact with Maria to share his sorrow and fears but didn't think about turning Maria back to her dark past.

Short film

On Friday, January 28th, 2011, protests were called all over Egypt asking for the step down of Mubarak's Regime. This came after 3 days of unprecedented demonstrations in the country against the 30 years rule of Hosni Mubarak. As the Regime decided to shut down all internet and mobile phone lines, protestors followed the proposal to gather at mosques and start the protests right after friday prayers. In Cairo, the goal was to march to Tahrir from several points and end up protesting at the Square. This movie gathers the footage filmed 10 years ago following one of this marches toward Tahrir Square

In an unusual proposition and an exciting assumption of the possibility of life on an isolated island, the meanings of the human relationship are generated between a man over seventy and a girl over twenty. That was the story in the film "Laila's Island", where events begin with the appearance of an old old man with a white beard as he searches for pieces of wood to light them to warm from the bitter cold, as if the frost he suffers is synonymous with cold feelings and the dryness of life in the voluntary exile that the old man saw fit for him. Before the lights of the love coming to him from the unseen flashed.

Short film

Women who run with each other. Short film freely inspired by the book Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

Short film

Every Syrian house has lived this scene. And the story differed from one window to another. The pain passed through everybody without exception.

Short film

Letting go of the youth shelter and reuniting with her mother turns out to be more difficult than expected for 17-year-old Melanie.

Short film

Nikos is a low-key man. He works as an assistant accountant at an insurance company, that is facing financial problems. The company's chief accountant and Nikos’ superior, Mr. Alexandridis, is a demanding and rude man who exploits Nikos. One night, on his way home, after work, Nikos stumbles across two men threatening Mr. Alexandridis and decides not to help, leaving him at his own fate. The balance in Nikos' life changes.

Short film

Héctor, a villager in southern Chile disconnected from his family, avoids assisting Rosa, his mother who lies prostrate, leaving her in the care of her sister Elena, who neglects her own existence because she has to take care of her. From her bed Rosa sees how time passes and how her daughter is consumed with her. Rosa will devise a plan underground, which will change the roles of the house forever.

Short film

Coronavirus has spread around the world until the period of global quarantine that allowed people around the world to stay at home and then go back in time 1920 about the forgotten Spanish flu whose victims were most affected by COVID-19 in the end we learned that the coronavirus has no limits in Our world, Earth is becoming less polluted and we need to protect it because Earth is our home.

Short film

The story of a detective who was involved in a serial murder case at Tehran in his youth and now, after 40 years, the killer threatens to kill him.

Short film

"I want to record everything to it slow down because I can't stop it, it's out of my hand. I want her to remember her name."  Lucas tells the story of his mother who's suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Short film

Many African villages in Ivory Coast are witnessing change over time, yet, "Latt", the spiritual master of the Boubouri village continues to adhere to teaching the customs and traditions of “the Celebration of the Generations.” His attempt to preserve his ancestors’ legacy takes place at a time when the youth of the village show indifference to these cultural practices. The spiritual master’s struggle to maintain the ancestral tradition is put forward in the film as he faces a number of difficulties when passing the ceremonial habits of “the Celebration of the Generations.” It is through his son and many young people that the master works at preserving the identity and customs of the Adjoukrou people and the Boubouri village in spite of the new generation’s disregard of the tradition and the cultural heritage it bears.

This project mainly focused on resonating stone sound to a space, and also recorded various soundscapes on the island. Besides, finding "something" on the island by chance and exploring improvisation. Picking up ubiquitous sound particles in space, which is waiting to be found. And then, responding to it or just simply listening.  As a musician, Shoichi Iwamoto tried to capture the island's current condition. At one time, Toru Takemitsu asked us "Can we actually hear?"  Do we have flexible ears to listen actively when confronting "the world"?  This is an attitude to life.

A philosophical meditation on a young Tomaž Pengov, one of the greatest musicians in Slovenian history and the author of many timeless songs, some of which will accompany him on this cinematic journey through his world. Pengov’s legacy features ‘Odpotovanja’, the first singer-songwriter record released in the former Yugoslavia.

Quentin, William and David are in their thirties, enjoying their ordinary lives with family and friends. One doesn't want children and is about to have a vasectomy, the other uses a reversible method and the last one is still looking for the right process for him. These men each have different characters and aspirations, but for all three, contraception is also the boy's issue.

Fazia is a middle-aged housekeeper. She seems tired and tormented by personal problems. For the past few months, she has started her days with the Martin-Pelissard, a small bourgeois family, who is reluctant to do the necessary paperwork to make it official for her. This morning, an unexpected incident will exacerbate the social pressure she experiences on a daily basis and make her live a race against time to try to keep her job.

Short film

In the late 60s a group of artists decides to settle in a village in the ‘darkest-deepest’ Spain. Today only Felix Cuadrado Lomas still remains there, determined to reflect the landscape which surrounds him: the lands built by those who work on them. 

Jury 4th edition 2021

Many of the films are award-winning productions at major film festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. This year's competition for professionals is judged by a jury consisting of a number of renowned profssionals in the filmindustry.

Enrique "Quique" Alcatena is one of the most important cartoonists in Latin America. This film delves into his life, to learn how the fantastic worlds that spring from its pages are created. Every time he wakes up, this young man appears in a new reality in which he would have another life. Everybody knows him but he knows nobody. Amnesiac or…., how will he get out of this nightmare?

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