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Nahla's Editorial Note

Dear Readers

 

Let me wish you all a Happy New Year with the genuine hope that the world moves just a step towards a semblance of peace; and, especially, when it comes to the Middle East and North Africa region. I am sometimes asked why I choose to promote Arab arts and culture when all that is happening, if viewed from the popular news outlets, is war, strife, struggle and constant catastrophic developments in the region that are impacting on everyone else and everywhere.

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Recent Articles

The past twelve days have been a profound experience attending the 60th edition of the BFI London Film Festival (LFF) and trying to follow as many as possible of the Middle East and North Africa region-inspired productions. With the excellent programming input of the MENA-region strand advisors for the BFI, film producers Elhum Shakerifar and Ali Jaafar, I was touched, moved, inspired, made to laugh, made to cry and made to think by each and every single film that I was able to view, whether it was from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia or Saudi Arabia.

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Like the mysterious woman hidden under a fine silk abaya, Saudi Arabia is the country cloaked in expensive outer wear but that doesn’t give away too much. Although we can smell the fragrance of her woody-scented oud perfume, we can never quite imagine the beauty that might be beneath. With the exception of Mecca and Medina that reveal the religious pilgrim trail, the rest of Saudi seems to exist in a parallel universe that the rest of us are unable to fathom.

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Celebrating an impressive sixty years, Britain’s leading film event of the year and one of the world’s most established film festivals, the BFI London Film Festival (BFI LFF) launches this week. Over twelve days, altogether 249 feature films and 145 shorts will be screened, including feature films and documentaries, live action and animated works. With 74 countries participating, there will be 39 world, twelve international, 49 European and eight world restoration premieres. Up for grabs also are the prestigious LFF Best Film Award, the Grierson Award for Documentary, the Sutherland Award for First Feature and the Short Film Award.

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