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SAFAR Film Festival: The Stories We Tell in Arab Cinema

Tuesday 7 June 2022

Some of the best films from the SAFAR Film Festival 2022 - the only festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world - will be heading to our screens in July. Founded in 2012, SAFAR offers a unique space for audiences to explore and celebrate Arab cinema past, present, and future.

The 2022 edition is an important milestone for the festival as SAFAR celebrates its 10 year anniversary, and expands out of London to screens in several cities around the country, including Coventry.

Curated by film specialist Rabih El-Khoury, this year’s theme, The Stories We Tell In Arab Cinema, invites viewers to go back to the very essence of filmmaking: storytelling. 

Featuring UK premieres and new releases, the film selection explores the devices used by Arab filmmakers to push cinematic boundaries, reclaim overlooked histories, and present new perspectives to audiences both at home and abroad. 

It sees controversial characters run amok and experimentations in form blend the traditional with the radical. Period pieces bring colonial traumas to the global stage and social issues are inspected through surreal and fantastical lenses. 

Meanwhile, Q&As with key directors unpack the role of the storyteller and examine the power that lies within the industry to build worlds, shape memories and change perceptions. 

SAFAR looks at who’s telling the stories, who isn’t, and why that matters. 

At Warwick Arts Centre, we'll be screening Jordanian writer/director Darin J. Sallam’s unflinching debut, Farha; Becoming, featuring five short stories by five emerging female Saudi directors; Khadar Ayderus Ahmed’s poetic romantic drama, The Gravedigger’s Wife; Omar El Zohairy's darkly humorous Feathers - which won Cannes' Grand Prize 2021; and Algeria's official Oscar Entry, Djafar Gacem's Heliopolis.

SAFAR is run by the Arab British Centre, a London-based charity that works to further understanding of the Arab world in the UK.