The BFI London Film Festival 2017 – Check the MENA-Inspired Choices

The fantastic annual BFI London Films Festival returns for its 61st edition with a diverse selection of 242 feature films and 128 shorts from both established and emerging talent from across the globe. Over twelve days from 4-15 October, London hosts a celebration of cinematic output that illustrates the richness of international filmmaking and bringing together a stellar line up of cast and crew for many of the productions screened. 

As the UK’s leading film festival, it always offers the UK public and film industry professionals the very early chance to view the best new films - from some 55 countries represented this year - alongside a comprehensive events programme where audiences can engage with some of the world’s most inspiring creative talents. This year, it will host 28 World Premieres, 9 International Premieres and 34 European Premieres.

As with each year, the BFI festival programme classifies films by various strands under which one can find them online for synopses and show times. These important strands are: Galas, Official Competition, Experimenta, Create, Thrill, Dare, Laugh, Debate, Cult, Love, Journey, Treasures and Family. It is among these that I could locate the films inspired by the Middle East and North Africa region.

Programmed by MENA-region advisors Elhum Shakerifar and Ali Jaafar, this year there are at least ten features to look out for in the BFI schedule that are in some important way connected to the following countries: Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Lebanon, Algeria and Tunisia, UAE (production) and Qatar (production).

Relating to these films, Shakerifar said to Nahla Ink: "The selection process lasts over months, as we try to bring a dynamic mix of the region's most exciting new titles to a London audience. This year at LFF, there is definitely something for everyone and the MENA region is represented by a broad array of talent as diverse as the region itself  – it is a selection strong in emotions: from the sly humour and absurd realities of 'Lebanon Factory' and the charming father and son road trip of discovery of 'Wajib' (Annemarie Jacir), to the interwoven stories of a conflicted modern day Casablanca in 'Razzia' (Nabil Ayouch) and the taut social drama of 'The Journey' (Mohamed Al Daradji). For the dreamers and the cerebral, 'Le Fort des Fous' (Narimane Mari) will give a lot to think about, for those wanting to see systemic change, 'Beauty and The Dogs' (Kaouther Ben Hania) packs a punch."

The list and the links are as below, I highly recommend you book your tickets asap before they sell out!

WAJIB

Production: Palestine

Director : Annemarie Jacir

Genre: Official Competition Strand

Showing: Monday 9 October 2017, 6pm Embankment Garden Cinema

Showing; Wednesday 11 October 2017, 2.15pm Embankment Garden Cinema

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::lo...

 

RAZZIA 

Production: France

Director:  Nabil Ayouch

Genre: Debate Strand

Showing: Thursday 5 October 2017, 8.45pm Cine Lumiere

Showing: Friday 06 October 2017, 6.10pm BFI Southbank NFT2

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...

 

LOOKING FOR OUM KULTHUM 

Production: Germany-Austria-Italy-Lebanon-Qatar

Director: Shirin Neshat

Genre: Special Presentations Strand

Showing: Saturday 7 October 2017, 6.20pm BFI Southbank NFT1

Showing: Sunday 8 October 2017, 3.30pm Rich Mix Cinema

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...
 

LEBANON FACTORY

Production: Lebanon-France

Directors: Ahmad Ghossein, Lucie La Chimia, Shirin AbuShaqra, Manuel Maria Perrone, Una Gunjak, Rami Kodeih, Mounia Akl, Neto Villalobos

Genre: Journey Strand

Showing: Saturday 7 October 2017, 3.15pm ICA Cinema Screen 1

Showing: Sunday 08 October 2017, 1pm at Cine Lumiere

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...
 

LE FORT DES FOUS

Production: France-Greece-Germany-Qatar

Director: Narimane Mari

Genre: Experimenta Strand

Showing: Sunday 08 October 2017, 5.45pm BFI Southbank NFT3

Showing: Wednesday 11 October 2017, 6.10pm BFI Southbank, Studio

Link : https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...

 

THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT

Production: Sweden-Denmark-Germany

Director: Tarik Saleh

Genre: Thrill Strand

Showing;  Wednesday 11 October 2017, 6:30pm Vue Leicester Sq, Screen 5

Showing: Thursday 12 October 2017, 6:10pm Cine Lumiere

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...
 

THE JOURNEY

Production: UK-Iraq-France-Qatar-Netherlands

Director: Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji

Genre: Journey Strand

Showing: Wednesday 11 October 2017, 8:45pm Curzon Soho Cinema 

Showing: Thursday 12 October 2017, 6.30pm Rich Mix Cinema

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...

 

OUROBOROS

Production: France-Palestine-Belgium-Qatar

Director: Basma Alsharif

Genre: Experimenta Strand

Showing: Friday 13 October 2017, 6:30pm BFI Southbank, NFT3

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...
 

SHEIKH JACKSON

Production: Egypt

Director: Amr Salama

Genre: Journey Strand

Showing: Thursday 05 October 2017, 9pm Curzon Soho Cinema

Showing: Saturday 07 October 2017, 12.15pm Curzon Mayfair Cinema

Showing: Thursday 12 October 2017, 3:15pm Vue Leicester Square 

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...
 
 

BEAUTY AND THE DOGS

Production: Tunisia-France-Norway-Lebanon-Qatar-Sweden-Switzerland

Director: Kaouther Ben Hania

Genre: Debate Strand

Showing: Wednesday 04 October 2017, 8:45pm ICA Cinema

Showing: Thursday 05 October 2017, 2:45pm Vue Leicester Square 

Showing: Friday 06 October 2017, 1pm BFI Southbank, NFT2

Link: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loa...