Magazine article Variety

Docus Cast Sharp Spotlight on Arab World

Magazine article Variety

Docus Cast Sharp Spotlight on Arab World

Article excerpt

The Arab world has long dished up heaping servings of documentaries, but there's something different these days: the quality of the films is higher thanks in part to Arab fests and funds that are fostering what could become a new wave of more naturalistic cinema in the region.

The proliferation of Arab factuals first started about a decade ago as broadcasters AI Jazeera and Al-Arabiya began producing plenty of low-budget straightforward pieces depicting regional turbulence.

But more recently docus from the region have become much more lively and original, as their helmers gain greater cachet and more international traction.

"Through documentaries, Arab filmmakers are moving towards a more structured and articulated storytelling narrative." says ADFF chief programmer Teresa Cavina. She cites 3D docu "Iraqi Ody*sey,"by Switzerland-based Iraqi director Samir, tracing the migrations of his extended family, now scattered all over the world, weaving wistful and witty testimonies of his relatives with rare documents from private and state archives, plus Ottoman film footage.

She also points to directors Amer AI Shomali and Paul Cowan's "The Wanted 18," which re-creates a story involving the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows on a Palestinian collective farm and makes use of stop-motion animation, drawings and interviews. …

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