AWAN FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT
Beirut, The Aftermath Screening
+ Q&A with Director, Fadia Ahmad
Thursday, 2 March at 7pm (Doors: 6pm)
Rich Mix, London E1 6LA
Film screening+ Q&A with Director Fadia Ahmad
Join us for the opening night of the AWAN Festival 2023 with a film screening of Beirut, The Aftermath, which will be followed by an in-person Q&A with the award-winning Director and photographer, Fadia Ahmad.
The film tells the tale a month after the August 4th blast, where an artist returns to Beirut to help rebuild what she can of her broken city. Retracing her usual itinerary of 10452 steps through the streets of Beirut, she seeks to portray the aftermath of the explosion that shook Lebanon to its core. A journey that once fulfilled the goal of self-discovery now gives both Beirut and the blast’s survivors a voice. Raw testimonials and powerful scenes recount the day everything collapsed all while showing the resilience of a people who don’t want to give up. Individuals from all walks of life finally open up after what seemed like a lifetime of silence.
After the screening and Q&A, there will be an opportunity to purchase one of Fadia’s limited edition prints of the city and a signed copy of her book ‘Beyrouth Beirut’.
Our River... Our Sky screening
+ Q&A with Director, Maysoon Pachachi
Ticket includes pre-screening of Sarah Al-Sarraj film, Wholeness
Saturday, 11 March at 5pm
Rich Mix, London E1 6LA
Film screening, panel discussion + Q&A with Director, Maysoon Pachachi
Director Maysoon Pachachi tells the story of Sara, a single mother and novelist, shocked into silence, at a time of extreme sectarian violence and nightly curfews in Baghdad. She and her neighbours invite us into their everyday lives, as their world fragments and they attempt to renew a fragile sense of hope for a better future.
Dedicated to the youth of Iraq, Maysoon Pachachi’s film offers a glance at the realities of ordinary life in Baghdad, a stark contrast to past Western media portray-als of the 2006 US-led invasion. A raw and powerful display of humanity, Pachachi’s film explores identity and nationalism, and what it means to belong.
Through the chaos and destruction, the residents never let their ambitions and desires for the future fade. Yet, they can’t help but contemplate leaving Iraq, and are forced to ask a painful question – who does Baghdad really belong to?
Escape into a dreamlike state during our free ‘Wholeness’ screening, a short experimental animation film by director Sarah Al-Sarraj, who will also be joining us for an in-person Q&A.
This short film is an exclusive pre-screening for when you purchase tickets to Our River… Our Sky. Book here.
Film starts at 5pm (Doors open from 4.30pm)
Sarah’s film is a study on the limits of subjectivity and the need to transgress them to recognise the natural world’s sentience and reject the nature/culture and human/environment binaries created to dehumanise indigenous people.
Inspired aesthetically by the surreal dreamscapes of Maya Deren, an important figure in the 1940s avant-garde scene in New York, it is a homage to her exploration of dreams and subjectivity.
+ Q&A with Director, Soudade Kaadan
Saturday, 18 March at 9pm (Doors: 8.30pm)
Rich Mix, London E1 6LA
Film screening, panel discussion + Q&A with Director, Soudade Kaadan
14-year-old Zeina and her family are the last to have stayed in their besieged hometown of Damascus in Syria.
A missile rips a giant hole in their home, exposing them to the outside world. When a rope is mysteriously lowered into the hole, Zeina gets her first taste of freedom, and an unimaginable world of possibility opens up for her.
As the violence outside escalates, the family is pressured to evacuate, but Mutaz, her father is adamant that they stay, refusing to flee to the uncertain life of a refugee. Faced with a life or death dilemma, Zeina and Hala, her mother, must make the choice whether to stay or leave.
Neo Nahda screening
+ Q&A with Director, May Ziade
Sunday, 26 March at 4pm (Doors: 3pm)
Finch Café, London E8 3SD
Film screening, panel discussion + Q&A with Director, May Ziade
Neo Nahda recounts the story of Mona, a young Arab woman who finds old photographs of women cross-dressing in the 1920s, becomes obsessed with them, and goes on a feverish journey of uncovering lost histories and her own identity.
The film deals with #queer and feminist histories of the Middle East, the process of research, browsing and discovering lost archives, and how archives can be a portal for the imagination and the realm of inner projections, they can produce meaning beyond historical truths. It is supported by the BFI Network.
About the Director:
May Ziadé is a French-Lebanese filmmaker and the co-founder of Other People’s Films – a production company that produces and aims to create bridges between moving image work and conventional films with a strong artistic voice. In her work she explores the physical and emotional unfoldings of the cultural and social pressures to conform.
Neo Nahda, her first short, is supported by the BFI NETWORK and the British Council.