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October 16 2021 9:30 AM ˚

Amman International Film Festival kicks off in capital

Amman International Film Festival
(Photo: from Amman International Film Festival facebook page)
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AMMAN— The Amman International Film Festival — Awal Film (AIFF) kicked off for the second year in a row in on Monday.

The festival will run until August 31, 2021 with the drive-in cinema that was introduced last year, according to a statement from the AIFF.اضافة اعلان

Starting with a musical compilation of soundtracks from Jordanian, Arab, and International movies, performed by the Jordanian Ensemble, the opening was attended by HRH Princess Rym Ali, president of the AIFF.

She addressed the audience on screen with a welcome note saying: “This festival was launched last year despite all the challenges imposed by the global health crisis. The Amman International Film Festival can make a difference to the audience and filmmakers alike.”

She added: “We seek to provide a platform to present first-time achievements in filmmaking from the Arab world and beyond, as well as to support Jordanian and Arab projects by holding a series of thought-provoking talks and seminars.

We look forward to becoming a beacon in the world of film festivals, in the near future."

The opening also included a tribute to Jordan’s pioneer of modern art, Mohanna Durra, who passed away earlier this year and designed the Black Iris trophy, the award and symbol of the AIFF. The festival also remembered prominent cinematic figures who passed away but who remains alive through their work.

The ceremony was followed by the screening of the Palestinian film "Gaza mon amour" (2020), directed by Tarzan and Arab Nasser (see page 16), screened for the first time in Jordan.  This edition includes 51 films from 26 countries, all recent productions between 2020 and 2021.

Screenings will also take place in two other locations: the open-air theater at the Royal Film Commission (RFC), as well as at TAJ Cinemas in compliance with public safety measures. Some films will be streamed online on the Istikana platform. The AIFF is also keen on reaching audiences in the governorates specifically in Irbid, Salt, and Wadi Rum.

Most of the screenings will be followed by discussions with the filmmakers, allowing them to share their experiences. The festival’s selection committee worked around the clock for months to go through over hundreds of submissions and carefully draft a rich and diverse program for the second edition, all Jordanian premières, four of which are world premières, whereas eight films are premières in the Arab region.

Seven films will be competing for the Black Iris Award for Best Arab Feature-length Narrative, seven documentaries will be competing for the Black Iris for Best Arab Feature-length Documentary, while 18 films will be competing for the Black Iris Award for Best Arab Narrative Short. The international films are competing for the Audience Award.

This edition is also hosting the Franco-Arab Film Festival in a special section "Franco-Arab Rendez-vous" that includes the opening film, three feature films and four shorts. Additionally, the AIFF sheds light on the career of the renowned Syrian director, Mohamed Malas, who will give a closer look at his cinematic journey and how it evolved.

The Amman Film Industry Days program starts today in parallel with the screenings, presenting a series of workshops, talks, and pitching platforms for Jordanian and Arab projects in development or post-production.

The AIFF’s Closing Ceremony will take place at the RFC on August 31, during which the Jordanian short film “Diana,” directed by Maysoon Al-Hubaidi, will be screened out of competition. The jurors will also announce the winners of the various categories.

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