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Freedom? Arabic focus on the 35th Göteborg International Film Festival

The focus for the 35th Göteborg International Film Festival is the Arabic-speaking region. The idea for an Arabic focus was already born at the festival in 2011, during which the demonstrations at Tahrir Square in Cairo proceeded at full throttle. Eight films within this theme are currently ready for the coming festival in 2012.

Since December 2010, country after country in the Arab world has undergone political upheaval. International observers agree that the Arab Spring is a political occurance with a greater global impact than the fall of the Berlin Wall. Most gratifying is that the world cares. Suddenly, everyone is looking at the Arab world in a nuanced way.

Marit Kapla, artistic director of the Göteborg International Film Festival about this year's focus:

If generalizing, we suddenly realize that people living in other places on the Earth want, need, and are entitled to, the same human rights as we are. Although an awareness has been with us before, it has nonetheless created a golden opportunity in history, right now, for greater understanding between groups of people around the world. Here, film can play a key role.

The films in the Arabic focus reflect people's everyday lives and provide a background to the political currents in the region. Several of the films focus on the situation of women. Several films have received attention from the great film festivals: On the Edge at Cannes, Rough Hands in Toronto and Habibi in Venice. Eight films are currently included in the Arabic focus, but more will come. Marit Kapla, the festival's artistic director is presently visiting Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

The start of the festival's Arabic focus begins already on October 20th when the film festival, together with the Mobile Art Production (MAP), shows the film 18 Days at Bio Roy in Göteborg. 18 Days consists of ten short films by some of Egypt's most prominent directors, including Yousry Nasrallah. The films portray different people's experiences from the turbulent days of January and February 2011, when the demonstrations resulted in the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. The film screening is also the start of a new collaboration between the film festival and MAP. (for more information please look here)

Göteborg International Film Festival is the biggest film festival in Scandinavia. Each year the festival screeens more than 450 films from about 70 countries. Next festival takes place January 27th to February 6th, 2012.

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