Featured Films - العربية


Winning Films from the “Eye to Heart” Contest
AIC's inaugural short film contest - "Eye to Heart" - asked young artists across the Middle East to explore character development, through defining moments, responding to repression, transformation, and entrepreneurship. The contest was open to budding filmmakers under the age of 26. From among submissions from 17 countries, a select group of finalist films were selected by a celebrity judging panel and will be screened at the festival. These provocative films include: Sign of the Times, Beeshou, Freedom, and Unlocked.


Bringing Down a Dictator (56mins, English/Arabic)
In 2009, we at CHRFF selected this outstanding documentary to screen to public Egyptians. But the authorities of the pre-revolution dictatorship threatened to shut down the whole festival if we did. Two years later, Egyptians brought down their dictator by the same nonviolent means the Serbians used in 1990s to bring down Slobodan Milosevic. The film documents the spectacular defeat of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000 not by force of arms, as many had predicted, but by an ingenious nonviolent strategy of massive civil disobedience.


My Name is Tahrir (60mins, Arabic/English)
Directed by the award-winning Ali Algehini, the film explores the story behind the January 25 movement in a mixture of narrative and documentary scenes. Named by Al Ahram newspaper as the most comprehensive and honest films about the January revolution.


Freedom is Born (3mins, Arabic)
A silent movie about how the freedom was born in the hearts of young Egyptians. This film was created after the fall of Mubarak in February 2011 to document those special moments of the freedom being born.


Zero Silence (14mins, English)
A documentary examining how a new generation of Middle Easterners has refused to be silent in the face of political repression and instead turned to the Internet – and then to the streets – to express discontent. Drawing on the historic events of the past year, the film examines technique and trends driving protests across the region.


Monrovia-Maspero (8mins, Arabic)

The film documents to the day of 9 October 2011 when the filmmaker was monitoring the democratic transformation in Monrovia, Liberia while Coptic Egyptians stood up for their rights and decided to make a rally in Maspero, Cairo supported by other Egyptians from different religious backgrounds. As heroic as their stance was, as painful was the suppression they received. They were beaten, harassed, and some of them were killed. The film is created by Ahmed Abdel Fattah, a young photographer who shot almost every single scene of the Egyptian revolution and received a gunshot in his right eye later.


A Force More Powerful

Narrated by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, this Emmy-nominated six-episode series explores how nonviolent power has overcome oppression and authoritarian rule all over the world.

Part I: “We Were Warriors” & “Defying the Crown”
The first part spotlights black students in Tennessee trying to desegregate lunch counters as well as Gandhi's famous Salt March protest against a British salt monopoly in India.

Part II:  “Freedom in Our Lifetime” & “Living with the Enemy”

The second part spotlights a consumer boycott campaign against apartheid in South Africa and Danish civil disobedience during the Nazi’s occupation.

Egypt: Insights into a Revolution (43mins, Arabic)

Two months after the fall of Mubarak regime, bloggers, activists, artists, opinion leaders and ordinary citizens revisit their experience during the revolution. How do they remember the historic 18 days? How did the revolution change their lives? What are their hopes and fears as a new Egypt slowly emerges?


Etkalemo: Women of Alshoba (6mins, Arabic)

With his digital camera, younng filmmaker and radio producer Ali El-Sotouhy tries to portray the lives of ordinary Egyptians suffering unfair life circumstances and endless economic problems. Through these short intensive series of films, he is trying to give voice to the voiceless. The main goal of this self-financed project is to encourage Egyptian people to speak up about their problems and how they can cooperate to have it solved. El-Soutouhy used to do the same via his radio show. However, at a certain point, he realized that the microphone cannot always tell what a single shot of a digital camera can introduce. CHRFF have screened several of his short and intense films in the past years. This year we screen his latest film about the suffering of less-privileged women and their children in Alshohba village, north Egypt.


Pink Saris (97mins, English/Arabic)
Meet Sampat Pal Devi, the bold leader of an Indian all-female street patrol known as the “Pink Gang” that defends at-risk women. “If you’re shy, you’ll die,” observes Sampat in explaining her unique brand of women’s rights advocacy in the streets. The film offers a window into the world of India’s “untouchable” caste.

Umoja (52mins, Arabic/English)
From 1970 to 2003, 1,600 women said they had been raped by British soldiers in northern Kenya. Feeling dishonored, their husbands beat and abandoned them. A handful of these women created Umoja, a village off-limits to men, which became the refuge of Samburu women. Jealous men regularly threaten the village and create many problems for its founder, Rebecca Lolosoli


Confronting the Truth (40mins, Arabic)
When bloodshed ends, political agreements are signed, and peace is restored, the past still remains. This film looks at how countries emerging from political turmoil have decided to move forward by confronting the past, specifically via “truth and reconciliation” commissions. Includes footage from Peru, South Africa, East Timor and Morocco.


The Desert of Forbidden Art (80mins, English)
Under Soviet repression, one man rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist's works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan. There Igor Savitsky discovers a school of artists inspired by local Islamic culture who fuse European modernism with centuries-old Eastern traditions. Featuring narration by Ben Kingsley, Sally Field and Ed Asner.