Check out the full #AFF2017 schedule and buy tickets here!

This year at the 21st Arab Film Festival we are excited to showcase films that tackle a variety of LGBTQIA stories.


Here I Am….Here You Are – Raed Rafei / Italy, Lebanon / 2016

The second feature by multimedia journalist Raed Rafei, Here I Am… Here You Are (Eccomi… Eccoti), is a master class exercise in essayistic documentary form. With a lyrical, ambient soundscape set atop a dreamy, atmospheric visual style that oscillates between still photography and moving images, Rafei explores not only what it means to be gay in contemporary Beirut, but the aches of psychic pain that blocks one from reaching a sense of “complete-ness” with one’s self, much less the other. Does such in-completeness have to do, in particular, with being gay in Beirut? Or is it related to a grander malaise endemic to the human condition (at large)? By taking his long-distance relationship with his Italian partner as a starting point, alongside Pier Paolo Pasolini as a traveling buddy, Rafei treks the muddied depths of what has been left in the wake of postmodernity.

Here I Am…Here You Are will be screening on Oct 14th at 5:05pm at the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco.

In Between – Maysaloun Hamoud / France, Israel / 2016

In Maysaloun Hamoud’s directorial debut, she tells the story of three Palestinian women living in Israeli society struggling with being accepted and deviating from the expectations of their culture. Lalia (Mouna Hawa), Salma (Sana Jammelieh), and Nur (Shaden Kanboura) are roommates living in Tel Aviv. Lalia, a criminal lawyer who likes to party after work, has found love with a modern Muslim man who can’t quite accept all sides of her. Salma, a DJ and bartender faces a difficult moment as she comes out as gay to her traditional Christian family. Nur is a college student who observes Islamic tradition and moves in with Lalia and Salma to be close to the university. When her conservative fiancé visits, however, he is threatened by her liberal roommates, and pressures her to move back to marry him immediately. All three women must learn how to accept themselves in the face of mounting pressure from their loved ones to conform.

In Between will be screening on Oct 14th at 6:35pm at the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco and on Oct 29th at 6:15pm at Harmony Gold in Los Angeles.


Ahmad In this selection by Ameer Ihsan, we learn that the world outside can be dangerous as much as it is liberating.

(Part of the Playful Ponderings Shorts Program)

The Candle In this playful film, Nasser Samara covers some serious topic matter using a group of people who comically argue the dynamics of privilege and guilt at a friend’s birthday dinner.

(Part of the Playful Ponderings Shorts Program)

Shrimp – This film by Yaser Al Neyadi covers it all, secrets… desires… obsessions. Things we all have. But sometimes things get particularly…weird.

(Part of the On the Edge of Narrative Shorts Program)

Check out the full #AFF2017 schedule and buy tickets here!