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Arab Film Festival

Executive Director Welcome

Friends, old and new, Welcome!

It is with great honor and excitement that I share with you the 17th edition of the Arab Film Festival. The AFF stands as one of the premier festivals dedicated to showcasing Arab films and filmmakers in the world. This of course is due to all the hard work and dedication of the Board of Directors, and everyone who has come before me. I am honored to have been given the opportunity, and the responsibility, to continue this work, protect its Mission and build upon it.

The Arab Film Festival plays a crucial role in our lives, fostering a space for filmmakers to tell their stories and contribute to a better understanding of the world and the issues our communities face. Our audiences are exposed to the diversity and beauty of contemporary Arab life, which do not just entertain and educate, but ultimately expose our shared humanity.

Though Arab cinema has a rich history, today it finds itself at a compelling moment, on the verge of mainstream recognition. We are witnessing an increase of Arab films financed and distributed by leading European and American studios, and major Arab productions are proving a success with audiences across the globe. This, coupled with the changes that Arab nations are a witness to, have led to a new wave of Arab filmmakers taking the stage. And once again, it is Arab women who are leading this movement. We are proud that 17 of our selections this year are by Arab women while 22 are U.S. Premieres.

Finally, along with the Board, I want to thank the amazing staff of the AFF. The last few months leading up to the festival would not be possible without their hard word, dedication, and generoisity of their time. Our audiences, all the filmmakers and I owe them our deepest gratitude.

Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the 17th Annual Arab Film Festival.

Serge Bakalian,
Executive Director