CinemaNa is back to showcase contemporary Arab cinema at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi

As part of its fifth season, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), in collaboration with the NYUAD Film and New Media Program andSorbonne University Abu Dhabi, bring back a captivating series of diverse Arab cinema to the Capital, as part of CinemaNa, which runs from October 14 until November 25. The series showcases films from the Arab world accompanied by Q&As with filmmakers and faculty.

CinemaNa kicks off on Monday, October 14 with What Comes Around, a documentary directed by Reem Saleh. Set in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Cairo the film highlights how communities come together, bringing hope for a better future.

In the film, Saleh reveals the community’s daily struggle for survival and sheds light on their approach to tradition, sickness, and death. The film’s use of music and the proximity and participatory nature of the camerawork allows Saleh to create an intimate portrait of mutual support and solidarity in an inhospitable world poised, quite literally, between the railway tracks. The film screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the director, who spent six years following the community with her camera.

The second screening for this season is MAFAK (Screwdriver), directed by Bassam Jarwabi , which will be showing at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi on Monday, November 4. Set in Palestine, the film portrays the story of a teenager who witnesses his friend’s death in crossfire before being captured by Israeli forces and released fifteen years later. Haunted by the memories of his past, the young man struggles to adjust to modern Palestinian life as the hero everyone hails him to be.

The film screening is supported by the Palestinian Business Council and is followed by Q&As with the director Bassam Jarbawi.

The Academy Award nominated documentary Of Fathers and Sons will be screened at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi on Monday, November 25. Directed by Talal Derki, the film showcases Derki’s return home, where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily lives over two years. In this screening, Derki’s camera focuses on the children, providing rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose only dream is to establish an Islamic caliphate. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for World Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, Of Fathers and Sons is a work of unparalleled intimacy that captures the chilling moment when childhood dies and jihadism is born. Following the screening, there will be a video Q&A with the director.

Executive Artistic Director of The Arts Center at NYUAD Bill Bragin explained, “CinemaNa encapsulates many important aspects of The Arts Center’s mission: collaborating with our academic colleagues on the faculty, collaborating with other educational and cultural institutions in the UAE, and bringing the vibrant arts of the region, in this case Arab film, to larger audiences.”

Assistant Professor of Film and New Media at NYU Abu Dhabi, Scandar Copti commented, “We are delighted to bring these internationally acclaimed films to the audience in Abu Dhabi. CinemaNA features compelling and thought-provoking films that offer intimate and self-described portrayals of the rich and vibrant cultures, histories, politics and social issues of the Arab World. This has been an excellent season for CinemaNA, the screenings were fully attended, and we look forward to the upcoming films.”

Assistant Professor of Sociology at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Clio Chaveneau stated, “The films and documentaries showcase this season all share, besides their cinematographic qualities, an ability to subtlety reveal unknown and complex social realities of Middle East societies. We are looking forward to the stimulating discussions between the audience and the filmmaker during the Q&A following each screening.”

Tickets to the film screenings are free to all. For more information on the films, please click here.

The Arts Center at NYUAD is a performing arts center that presents distinguished professional artists from around the world alongside student, faculty, and community productions.

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