These Arab directors – whose work will play at AFF2021 –  explain why they made their films and their personal connections to them. Filmmaking is much more than a job – it is a labor of love and persistence, and a single project can often take years to complete.

Get inspired by the words of these Arab directors and check out their films. The 25th Arab Film Festival opens in San Francisco on November 18 and online on November 19, 2021.

200 METERS – directed by Ameen Nayfeh


Excerpt from In Conversation with Ameen Nayfeh
Courtesy of ODEH FILMS and WOLF Consultants:

“I can say that maybe 99% of Palestinians have to go through a similar journey in overcoming such absurd obstacles in their daily life. You fight your way to small victories in order to achieve simple, basic tasks. The idea of the film and the 200-meter distance came as an accumulation of both personal and collective experiences. I’ve experienced my share of separation as my mother is originally from a Palestinian village on the other side of the wall. The village was my “Neverland” growing up. But after the wall was built, we were cut off from the rest of our family, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and childhood friends. I have lots of bad memories at checkpoints like everyone else. I can go on forever about the tragedies this situation of apartheid has created. Of course, our reality is much more complicated than we portray in the film since we need to simplify it to be able to tell the story.

Almost 13 years ago, I was hanging out with one of my friends. His rooftop overlooks the wall and a Palestinian town on the other side. This friend – who happened to be a construction worker in Israel – started telling us that; “Before the wall, I used to light a cigarette and I’d be home before it was finished. It’s a mere 200 meters away! Going to work now is like traveling around the Cape of Good Hope.”

This irrational situation has affected thousands of families. Many didn’t have the energy to adapt. Others fought their way hoping that the situation would eventually change. But despite this, the story I chose to tell was of the triumph of love.” – Ameen Nayfeh

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online and discover more great movies from Arab directors.

AL-SIT – directed by Suzannah Mirghani


Director’s Statement:

“This is a story from Sudan about women, both powerless and powerful. In many Sudanese villages, the matriarch is revered and respected and gains social power through experience and age. Young girls, on the other hand, are the most vulnerable. This film explores both ends of the social chain and how these roles might be changing in a modernizing world.

Everyone has their own selfish reason for why 15-year-old Nafisa’s arranged marriage should or should not happen, everyone apart from the bride-to-be. In Sudan, I met many young girls like Nafisa: teenagers living on the margins of their own lives, watching silently as others make important decisions on their behalf. Many girls do not stand up for themselves because they believe they have no option. In this film, I explore the possibility of a young girl making a statement against all odds. That is a seemingly simple statement: choosing who to love. This film gives voice to young girls like Nafisa.

Filmmaking in Sudan is finally beginning to flourish after decades of prohibition and neglect. Sudan is overflowing with talent, but there is little opportunity to show it. We made this film with a 99% Sudanese cast and crew (and 1% Lebanese). Many of the cast members (including Mihad Murtada who played Nafisa, and Mohammed Magdi who played Nadir) are first-time actors.” – Suzannah Mirghani

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of Ruya رؤيا (Visions)in person screening
– Screening as part of Ruya رؤيا (Visions)virtual screening

AMIRA – directed by Mohamed Diab


Director’s Statement:

“The fact that there exists some form of immaculate conception in the most sacred and divided place on earth, is fascinating yet surreal. AMIRA is a micro-cosmic exploration of the division and xenophobia that exists in today’s world. In the process of unraveling our heroine’s identity, the film begs the question, is hatred nature or nurtured?” – Mohamed Diab

AMIRA is AFF2021’s Opening Night film and is screening exclusively in person on November 18 at The Castro Theatre in San Francisco
Reserve your tickets today and discover more great movies from Arab directors.

AS I WANT – directed by Samaher Alqadi


Director’s Statement:

“The recent rise in women’s voices against sexual harassment and gang rape within Egyptian society mark a maturing moment in the country’s feminist movement, similar to #metoo in the US. This is certainly not a new phenomenon, nor is it coming out of the blue. It is a direct result of the women’s solidarity and revolutionary movements of 2013, as depicted in As I Want, and laid the groundwork for the current social crisis and “outing” of sexual predators long immune from guilt. But Egypt is not alone in the women’s push-back against an out of control patriarchy. In Palestine we have witnessed mass outrage over the torture and killing of Israa Ghareeb, because she “dishonored the family” – a story I can relate to as I was almost murdered by my own brother when I was 16 for similar reasons. Across the world, thousands of women are raising their voices against gender inequality and violence against women. I hope that with this film I can contribute to breaking the silence and opening a wider debate to encourage women to show their collective power, demand their rights, and change their lives for the better.” – Samaher Alqadi

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online and discover more great movies from Arab directors.

BEITY – directed by Isabelle Mecattaf

Arab Directors: Beity

Director’s Statement:

“As you may know Lebanon has had a particularly difficult year. It started with a financial collapse and protests at the end of 2019 and on August 4th 2020 the capital exploded. This is not an exaggeration. I received calls from my parents, in the rubble of the apartment I grew up in, badly injured, crying, and begging me never to come back to a country that “has no future”. Although this movie is not about this disaster, it is about what happens to the parents we leave behind when we go abroad trying to make a life for ourselves. It is a feeling that a lot of immigrants who leave their home country understand. We are forced to abandon the parents who have loved us, cared for us, inspired our dreams and supported us, but then what happens to them?

I have been living in the United States for the past eight years, and I have witnessed first hand the image that Western countries have of the Middle-East, and more specifically Lebanon. Racism and fear are a result of ignorance and misinformation, and I believe that movies can bridge the gap between people’s perception of a country and its reality. I hope to have made a nuanced film embedded in the Lebanon I love and grew up in, but that also reflects my generation’s point of view on our society. And more importantly, I hope this story will transcend  borders and reach anyone who can relate to loneliness, family struggles, generational and social dynamics.” – Isabelle Mecattaf

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsin person screening
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsvirtual screening

DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE – directed by Shaima Al-Tamimi


Director’s Statement:

“As a Yemeni, it is utterly frustrating to witness a muffled and one sided narrative told about Yemen. Being branded as “The world’s worst humanitarian crisis” is an extremely dehumanising method to seek global attention, not to mention one that causes de-sensitization to the harsh realities of war. Our story with migration started over centuries ago as we crossed oceans to East Africa, India, Britain etc to trade and work under the colonial rule.

Researching my family’s migration and resettlement journey has allowed me to take ownership of my identity and to more thoroughly understand the constant intergenerational insecurity and trauma of finding a permanent home. Through this work I am hoping to draw attention to ongoing Yemeni migration, encouraging greater recognition of our stories and fostering space for collective healing among Yemeni migrations and their descendants. It is important for our voices to be heard, and more important for us to be in control of our own narrative.” – Shaima Al-Tamimi

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of Head & Heart: 6 Documentaries by Womenin person screening
– Screening as part of Head & Heart: 6 Documentaries by Womenvirtual screening

You can learn more about Yemeni cinema in this Brief History of Yemeni Cinema.

FLOX – directed by Hady Mahmoud

Arab Directors: Flox - Arab Film Festival

Director’s Statement:

“I was inspired to shoot this movie because I was passing by that bus station every day in my way to my film school for 4 years, I saw and loved how the place was drawing in chaos, beautiful chaos, but [it was]also somehow organized too.
Also, I was inspired by the style of observational documentary of filmmakers like Dziga Vertov, Frederick Wiseman and Jean Rouch, I found myself disconnected from making films full of archive footage, talking heads interviews and lots of music and songs, that’s far away from the kind I love and enjoy. I believe That Observational Method/Cinéma Vérité is more strong, real and much effective on the audience as a style of documentary filmmaking.
Flox is my debut, I learned a lot and experienced more than I thought by going and discovering this journey.” – Hady Mahmoud

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online and discover more great movies from Arab directors.



GRACE – directed by Brian Patto


Director’s Statement:

“I was born in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein’s regime. The Middle East has been in conflict for hundreds of years, even more so for minorities like the Chaldeans/Assyrians who no longer have a place to call home. Dispersed across the globe they are forced to find
refuge wherever they can. But for many who are unable to escape, life seems unfair.

The daily struggle to make ends meet puts immense pressure on hundreds of thousands of families situated all over Iraq. My family was lucky enough to escape during the Iran-Iraq war when I was only two years old. My father decided to leave everything behind for the safety and wellbeing of our family.

This film follows a young girl who’s father wants to live in peace and provide a safe future for his daughter. I know this story because
my family has lived it. However, this particular story is based on my cousin who lived in Mosul.

A group of men attacked one morning in his very home. He moved his wife and children to the safety at the back of the house. He then returned to the the living room to defend his family. During the firefight, his five year old boy came running out for his father. A bullet ricocheted and hit the boy, killing him instantly.

‘Grace’ is a film about the emotional weight a parent carries told through the lens of a young girl. Taking visual cues from films like ‘Sin Nombre’ and ‘Capernaum’, Aaron Farrugia; a multi award winning cinematographer; has used his unique style and mature approach to add a refined and immersive look, drawing inspiration from cinematographers such as Roger Deakins and Rodrigo Prieto.” – Brian Patto

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of Love and Loss: Stories from Iraqin person screening
– Screening as part of Love and Loss: Stories from Iraqvirtual screening

HOW MY GRANDMOTHER BECAME A CHAIR – directed by Nicolas Fattouh


Director’s Statement:

“My Grandmother has always lived very close to my house, yet I never felt the urge to visit her often. I naively thought she would always be there, but when she passed away, I knew she was gone forever.

At first, this film came out of grief in a healing process to overcome the loss of someone dear, but it then became an insight on human relationships.

Despite being a loving person, my grandmother couldn’t see her African housekeeper Rose as part of her family even after all these years of living with us. It was only on her deathbed that she was able to perceive her for who she truly was, a human with feelings and aspirations. In Rose, she found family!

Between life and death, social injustice and stigmas quickly vanish because at the end we are all equal and we are all human. Nowadays, this common fact is forgotten many places in the world where slavery takes modern forms denying unfortunate people their simple right to love and be loved.

Not only does this film celebrate the strong woman that was my grandmother, trying to hold her family together, but it also sheds light on the transformation housekeeper Rose went through to become the independent woman she is. This story is about life, death and the truths revealed when social stigmas subside.” – Nicolas Fattouh

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsin person screening
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsvirtual screening

MOSS AGATE – directed by Salim Mourad


Director’s Statement:

“This film was shot right before the chain of events that started on October 17th 2020 and changed the course of History in my country. It’s been more than a year that Lebanon is going downhill at the same time of celebrating our first centenary: unachieved revolutions, currency inflation, economic catastrophe, Covid pandemic, civil unrest, population despair and finally the biggest blow: the huge port explosion of August 4th.
In Agate Mousse, characters die and come back to life, others struggle to quit a community then feel eaten alive by nostalgia, some take the choice to leave the city to reconnect with nature and their own craft. Everyone is looking for an answer, for a way out. In its own way, in both form and content, this film is a vision of the future before its time and a reminder of the essential light one should never forget during the darkest days.
It is an ode to life, an exploration of death and rebirth, a poem about cinema.” – Salim Mourad

Watch at AFF2021:
– Moss Agate & Queer Lens – in person screening
– Moss Agate & Queer Lens – virtual streaming

MOTHER IS BACK – directed by Rami Al Shattri


Director’s Statement:

“I came across a lot of stories in the newspapers and social media about suicides of young Yazidi women after their liberation from the grip of ISIS and their return home to their villages. I saw a report of the United Nations Organization evidencing about 20 suicides of young Yazidi women over just 4 months. These numbers and stories felt dreadful to me.

Later, I had an opportunity to talk with a survivor in the village of Sinjar, in Nineveh region of northern Iraq. Her name is Gumi. She told me a story about a young girl who threw herself down on the rocks and the suffering of many young Yazidi women and girls after their return home, especially if they were coming back with children from ISIS fathers.These stories grieved me and upon my return I wrote Ellan’s story trying to imagine what an excruciating suffering it must have been for her that made her threw herself down onto the rocks. The clergy and religious authorities do not have any specific opinions with respect to the children brought from ISIS nor the young Yazidi women who were kidnapped and who returned home. The religion itself doesn’t say anything. But the society, the community, the people have their own rules and opinions and they create them as what suits them.

Fear of returning home having a child from someone of another religion and being outcast from your own religion, physical and psychological traumas and shame, not acceptance of them and their children by the society, as the fate of Yazidi children born from ISIS men remains unknown and undetermined until today, and as they are deprived of obtaining the Iraqi nationality, are the obstacles that hundreds of Yazidi women and girls faced upon their return from Syria to Iraq.

All women who faced beatings, rape and other kinds of physical and psychological violence and all horrific brutalities that ISIS fighters perpetrated on them are victims of war, at first, and the society, at second. These women did not find any mercy or sympathy neither from ISIS, nor from the society upon their return, which led to them choosing the fate of suicide and death over a life as a “shame”, as this is what the society call them, because they did not preserve their honour and brought children from ISIS fathers.” – Rami Al Shattri

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of Love and Loss: Stories from Iraqin person screening
– Screening as part of Love and Loss: Stories from Iraqvirtual screening


Directed by Khaldiya Amer Ali (Jordan), Marah Mohammed Alkhateeb (Jordan), Karoli Bautista Pizarro (Perú), Christy Cauper Silvano (Perú)


Excerpt from The Process
Courtesy of Another Kind of Girl Collective:

The film’s two teams of directors—Karoli and Christy in Lima, Peru, and Khaldiya and Marah in Za’atari Refugee Camp, Jordan, collaborated on this film for three years and have not yet met the other team in person. They were first introduced over Skype call, and afterwards, each of the four directors began filming her daily life for the others, as well as sending audio diaries and voice notes with questions. Throughout the summer of 2018, producers Laura/Tasneem (Jordan) and EB/Lali (Peru) facilitated the directors’ initial creative processes and exchanges, communication and translation, and technology.

The film takes its title from a moment during production in which the Syrian director Khaldiya was struggling emotionally and reached out to directors Karoli and Christy for support. She’d always imagined the ocean as the one place that would calm her mind, but as a refugee in Jordan, has never had access to travel there. Knowing that Lima is on the coast, she asked her fellow directors to film the ocean on her behalf. While filming at the beach, Karoli called Khaldiya to show her she was filming the ocean for her, and to told her: “We are one — the ocean is the only thing between us.”

Only the Ocean Between Us is a cross-border project by Another Kind of Girl Collective. We wrote about these young Arab directors on our blog, catch up here.

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online

OUR RIVER … OUR SKY – directed by Maysoon Pachachi

Arab Directors: Our River Our Sky by Maysoon Pachachi

Director’s Note:

“I’m a filmmaker of Iraqi origin with deep roots in that country and, at the same time, I am a Londoner who has lived in the city for almost all of my adult life. I often feel like a person whose home is on a bridge with a view of both sides of the river.

Iraqis have lived through decades of dictatorship, war and sanctions and since 2003, ongoing extreme daily violence and chaos. Their lives are ruptured and full of loss, with no breathing space to process and repair. This is the emotional context in which people get on with daily lives in a situation where the unthinkable has become the norm, where you have to ‘act life’ as people in Sarajevo used to say. The powerful external circumstances affect everyone and create a sense that you are living a story that is at the same time personal, and collective.
I and my co-writer, Irada Al-Jubori, an Iraqi novelist, were interested in finding a fictional form which would reflect this experience.

Our film takes place in Baghdad, in the last week of 2006, a time of extreme sectarian violence and nightly curfews. Connected individual stories, each with its own trajectory, unfold simultaneously and, together, they describe a collective drama happening in this particular time and place. How you tell the story is part of the story.

I am interested, not so much in what happens but in what we as human beings do with what happens. When the world inside and outside us is fragmenting, how do we keep a sense of our self and our story, how do we hold our life together? How do we survive psychically, emotionally? Where do we find the will and the courage to resist the damage and renew a fragile sense of hope morning? Can we be true to our values and beliefs? What do we tell our children? Can we retain any sense of community? How?

This is what our film is about and was in part inspired by dialogue and scenes, which I and my co-writer, Irada, heard and saw in Iraq in 2006/7. Using this real-life source material as a springboard, we created our fictional narrative, making the feelings of our characters present in the way that drama makes possible, while at the same time, trying to express the energy, danger and chaos of the wider reality in which they live.

We feel that it’s especially important now for stories of individual resistance and hope to be told about the Middle East, where so many still manage to maintain solidarity with one another as human beings, in spite of the intensely divisive pressures of religion and politics, with which they are living.” – Maysoon Pachachi

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online  and discover more great movies from Arab directors.

SAFIA – directed by Ahmed Abd

Safia by Ahmed Abd

Director’s Statement:

“I was drawn to Safia’s life as it mirrored my own experiences during the 2003 war. What should have been an important period of transition from childhood to adulthood was instead shaped by violence and fear. I transitioned into ‘manhood’ very quickly and lived the next two decades mourning a childhood I never experienced.

Fortunately, amongst the violence and destruction, I took up a camera instead of a gun and it led me to Safia and her family.

I am interested in exploring silence, fear and the ways in which big events subtly change us forever.” – Ahmed Abd

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of Love and Loss: Stories from Iraqin person screening
– Screening as part of Love and Loss: Stories from Iraqvirtual screening

THE SAILOR – directed by Lily Ekimian & Ahmed T. Ragheb

Arab Directors: The Sailor by Lily Ekimian & Ahmed T. Ragheb Directors’ Statement:

“The archetypal sailor is one of the most classic and enduring of characters. He travels far from home, encountering and traversing strange lands. His duties and responsibilities entangle him in misadventure and tragedy. He longs to return home yet harbors a secret desire to elongate his journey. He pines faithfully over the love awaiting him back home yet allows his heart to drift freely during his travels. This is true of Homer’s Odysseus, 1001 Nights’ Sinbad and it is true of the unseen narrator of “The Sailor.” The ever-wandering and contradictory nature of the sailor is very much on display in the film as we listen to our hero narrate the lonely images of a foreign city. He phrases, rephrases, then  rewrites his observations and statements until finally comfortable with the structure and presentation of his sentence. With each rephrasing he reveals something new, some truth about his situation and his feelings towards himself and, not only his new home, but the one he left behind. The film is essentially made up of six of these sentences. Each, in its “completed” form, is deceptively simple; a sentence that might appear casually on a postcard or in an email to a family member. However, as we watch and listen to him punctiliously address each and every component, the words he settles on become saturated in meaning and implication. The goal of the film is not to document the experience of immigrants at large or even one specific person’s story. It is rather to materialize, using our own surroundings, the emotions and meditations that often accompany cultural dislocation. “The Sailor” was conceived, written, and shot entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic with all cast and crew collaborating remotely, from Cairo to Pittsburgh to Chicago; it is that sense of isolation, both physical and spiritual, that is woven through each and every moment of the film.” – Ahmed & Lily

Watch at AFF2021 as part of Experiments in Filmvirtual screening only.

THE SCARECROWS – directed by Nouri Bouzid


Director’s Statement:

“I wanted to make this film as testimony of the dark period Tunisia has experienced under the Islamist regime since the recent revolution. My aim is to break the silence around its isolated victims, and to lift the veil on this period. I have taken this opportunity to liberate this story from behind the walls that have encircled it since 2013. Les épouvantails cries out in opposition to the forgetfulness that surrounds those victims who embody the bad conscience of our nation. Thanks to the young producers who worked with me, this film has allowed me to find life in cinema once again.” – Nouri Bouzid

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online and discover more great movies from Arab directors.

SPACE WOMAN – directed by Hadi Moussally


Director’s Statement:

“Cinema has always been a privileged means of expression, especially for dealing with issues and themes that evoke in me a sense of injustice. More generally, it has allowed me to question the norms and injunctions that society imposes on us and which, in my opinion, often oppose our individual freedoms.

As far as this film is concerned, it all started when Loopstache, a Lebanese singer, presented me his album called «Hypercube». The project was a melting pot of Arabic, English and French songs, with pop tunes, oriental sounds and techno rhythm. I was listening to his album when my mother kept calling me about her retirement anxieties. I listened to the songs with her in mind. It was obvious to me that the two projects echoed each other, but I wanted to take this fusion even further by matching the rhythm of the film to that of the album, rather than the other way around, as is traditionally the case.

First of all, the film is about the status of women in Arab communities, where Maha, the main character, has always been considered a perfect housewife and an excellent mother. Yet society has neither helped her to fulfill these roles nor allowed her to dream of anything else. If it didn’t allow her to dream of anything else, it obviously didn’t give her the opportunity to realize her dreams either. Dreams that only took shape in the depths of her imagination, places as sacred as they were secret. This film also deals with the place of elderly women in the Arab world by showing this young retired and divorced woman, trying to manage her daily life, while facing her new life and all the anxieties it brings up in her. This film also deals with immigration and the relationship to physical distance with our loved ones, highlighting the relationship she has with her children through new technologies, including video calling.

When my mother first told me that she wanted to be a spaceman (), I thought it was funny that a woman would use that term to describe herself. I thought it was funny until I realized it was just another societal injunction. I had always wondered why the word astronaut is translated into Arabic as ( ), which means  Man/Cavalier of Space. What about female astronauts? So I slowly started to become aware of the gap that still exists between the two genders, all the more immense in the Arab world. Women have gained more rights and independence, but it is a long process that is far from being completed, especially for my mother, a 64-year-old woman. Women of her age are not taken seriously and are not allowed to dream or have ambition.

My work allows me to challenge myself and hopefully improve. As my career progresses, I feel more and more attracted to making films that combine different genres, such as the documentary genre, which in this case mixes reality and fiction with some staging. This combination I would define as hybrid represents my inspirations as well as the direction I want to go in.” – Hadi Moussally

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsin person screening
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsvirtual screening

TAMOUZI – directed by Ali Dekmak


Director’s Statement:

“Tamouzi is my second short movie in my filmmaking journey… I decided to write and direct this film because it comes from deep inside of me… I was haunted by the 2006 war and this whole experience has been therapeutic to me… Tamouzi is not only my true story, a real recollection of events that happened to me and my sisters that fateful July; it is the story of every child that witnessed any war… Back then I only wanted to play my favorite Ninja Turtles game on my Sega Console, I didn’t want to hear any Missiles, Screams, or any Air Raid, and this is exactly what the young Ali wants in this film. Tamouzi is about the innocence of children and their stolen childhood, like my childhood… It is not a War movie, and I dedicate it to all the children in the world. Peace, Love, and Video Games.” – Ali Dekmak

Watch at AFF2021:
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsin person screening
– Screening as part of From Beirut to Space: Lebanese Shortsvirtual screening

THEIR ALGERIA – directed by Lina Soualem


Director’s Statement:

“I come from a generation that grew up in the deafening silence of the Algerian War, a generation born to grandparents who apparently had “no story”. But in fact, to grandparents who were terribly silent. Nobody ever told me about their lives – except for a few anecdotes that were always rehashed – as if to hide the naked and poignant truth. Their recent separation, after 62 years of living together, was an electroshock and was the inciting moment that triggered my desire to make this film. I was submerged with fear when they separated and I realized they could disappear. The imminence of their disappearance would be synonymous with the impossibility of knowing their story. Making this film became a necessity. It became vital for me to understand where I come from and to understand my family’s place in the history of Algeria, and France, the country in which I was born. As their grand- daughter – I am the most suitable person to enter their intimacy. Their intimacy becomes a mirror of the collective history: their story sheds a light on a part of the Algerian immigration history in France. Them – who are from Algeria and far from one another.” – Lina Soualem

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online and discover more great movies from Arab directors.

WE ARE FROM THERE نحن من هناك – directed by Wissam Tanios


Excerpt from: Interview with the director Wissam Tanios conducted by film critic Joseph Fahim 
Courtesy of Abbout Productions

“Most Syrian films I saw would end when the characters cross over to Europe; I always asked myself, what happens next? I wanted to dive into that; to see what happens after the crossing is done and how they’d cope with their new lives.

It’s about loss; how each one of us deals with it in their own way. Having experienced a lot of loss in my family at a young age, I was indistinctively gravitated towards exploring the big loss my cousins underwent. It’s also about coping with loss and building a defense mechanism to be able to go on.

The film deals with saving a memory. My first intuition was to film and archive the journeys of my cousins because I felt that something was vanishing. I wanted to make it immortal.

The film is also about the Arab youth; how we’re always searching for ourselves; for a different place. It’s a coming-of-age story of two characters transitioning from boyhood into adulthood; of two young people coping with radical changes in their lives and trying to find out who they are…trying to find a home. These existential thoughts are extensions of my own: of my own struggles, of my dilemma about leaving to a new place, and what constitutes home for me. It’s about the randomness of life; the strange unexpected avenues it leads us to.” – Wissam Tanios

Watch at AFF2021 – in person and online  and discover more great movies from Arab directors.

The 25th Arab Film Festival

The 25th Arab Film Festival opens in San Francisco on November 18 and online on November 19, 2021.
In the San Francisco Bay Area? Browse the in-person schedule, or check out virtual streaming options (extended through November 28!) and discover more great movies from Arab directors.