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Curtains to go up on Amman International Film Festival-Awal Film on August 23

By Maria Weldali - Aug 19,2020 - Last updated at Aug 19,2020

AMMAN — The Amman International Film Festival-Awal Film (AIFF) will take place between August 23 and August 31, the organisers announced during a press conference on Tuesday

The AIFF is the first international film festival in the Kingdom that puts emphasis on debut achievements in the film industry at the regional and international levels, according to AIFF statements made available to The Jordan Times.

The festival will open with the screening of the multi-awarded French movie “Les Misérables” on August 23, and will conclude with “Luxor”, by British-Jordanian filmmaker Zeina Durr on August 31.

“Certainly many are wondering why we have planned an international film festival amid a pandemic,” AIFF Director Nada Doumani said during the press meet at the Royal Film Commission.

Amid these circumstances, the festival’s board and organisers were “at a crossroads” whether or not to organise the festival, Doumani said.

“Intense audience reaction” to the festival and a lack of platforms for filmmakers to nurture their works prompted the organisers to go ahead with the festival amid the restrictions necessitated by the pandemic, the AIFF director said.

Organised under the umbrella of the Royal Film Commission, the festival will screen debut films from around the world , Doumani said , citing the festival’s title “Awal Film”. The Arabic word “awal” translates as “debut”.

The films are to be screened at a drive-in cinema in Abdali and at the Royal Film Commission’s open-air theatre.

The drive-in cinema in Abdali can accommodate 75 vehicles, Doumani said, adding that the film festival will adhere to physical distancing norms.

“The festival was originally scheduled for April, but then the pandemic hit and everything just stopped,” she said.

The AIFF’s inaugural edition will also support its industry arm the Amman Film Industry Days (AFID) with seminars, pitching sessions and discussions attended by film professionals.

The AIFF’s goal, according to its president HRH Princess Rym Ali, is “developing and promoting an Arab cinema that reflects the creativity of the region and tackles the issues that are prevalent today”.

The inaugural edition’s line-up includes 30 Arab and international feature-length narratives and documentaries, in addition to nine Arab short films.

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