Movie series CinemaNa to enthrall film fanatics with Arab Cinema

October 15, 2017
5 minutes read
Movie series CinemaNa to enthrall film fanatics with Arab Cinema

As part of its third season, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, brings a series of Arab Cinema films to the capital under the banner CinemaNa, starting from October 16.


CinemaNa will feature award-winning Arab films and renowned directors, as well as offering a host of workshops on this genre of film. Blessed Benefit by acclaimed director Mahmoud Al Massad is kicking off the series at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi.

Screening on Monday October 16 at 7.30pm in Sorbonne’s auditorium, Blessed Benefit premiered in 2016 at Toronto International Film Festival and won the NETPAC jury award for the Best Asian film, as well as the Best Acting award at Warsaw Film Festival. This silver screen brilliance from Al Massad, a director named in 2002 as the Arab Ambassador of Culture, also produced Recycle which won the World Best Cinematography Award at Sundance in 2008. Recycle will also be screened on Tuesday October 17 at 7.30pm, also in The Blue Hall.

Blessed Benefit follows Ahmad, a construction worker who ends up in prison after an unfortunate business deal goes wrong, yet life in prison has provoked Ahmad into thinking that life in a cell might be better than that on the outside.


Recycle puts the audience in the shoes of Abu Ammar, a deeply religious Jordanian man who struggles to support his two wives and eight children, as his income is collecting discarded cardboard for sale to a recycling plant. Yet his faith in both his religion and to find a publisher keeps him going, as Ammar strives to publish a book based on thousands of scraps of paper he has collected with Islamic sayings on.


Between October 16-18, Mahmoud Al Massad will hold a filmmaking workshop in which the Abu Dhabi community is invited to sign up to, here.


Over on Al Reem Island, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi will continue the CinemaNa series on Monday November 6 with Mahbas – A 2016 dramedy directed by Sophie Boutros that tells a story of two families coming together in the midst of political prejudices. While on Tuesday November 7 sees CinemaNa return to The Arts Center with the 2016 romcom directed by Fadi Haddad, When Monaliza Smiled. A love story set in present day Amman among a community of nosy stereotypes and quirky characters.


And filmmakers will once again be opened up to a world-class filmmaking workshop thanks to director Fadi Haddad and Producer, Nadia Eliewat, between November 6-8.




Dr Clio Chaveneau, assistant professor in the philosophy and sociology department at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi said: “We are delighted to launch the first edition of CinemaNa cultural programme in partnership with NYUAD. This initiative comes in line with the common interest both universities have for Arab cinema and the importance of highlighting Arab talents such as filmmakers, actors, scriptwriters, editors who are producing beautiful and interesting features and documentaries. CinemaNa was created to support the Arabic Cinema and to offer a unique opportunity for Abu Dhabi residents to watch more Arab cinema productions and meet with Middle Eastern artists. We believe that there is an audience for these films in Abu Dhabi and we look forward to this exciting project.”


Scandar Copti, Assistant Professor of Film and New Media at NYU Abu Dhabi, said: “We are delighted to bring to Abu Dhabi this remarkable initiative which contributes to presenting Arab cinema to new audiences from a variety of backgrounds. In addition to showcasing the latest developments in Arab Cinema, the program also offers a rare opportunity for the local community to engage and be inspired by the filmmakers in the Q&A sessions and planned workshops. We are excited about the programme, and we are looking forward to celebrating Arab cinema.”


Tickets are now available for all screenings and workshops.  For more information please visit: http://www.nyuad-artscenter.org


The Arts Center at NYUAD is an internationally renowned performing arts center that presents distinguished professional artists from around the world alongside student, faculty, and community productions.


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