Thought-provoking contemporary Arab cinema series, CinemaNA, continues online for its fourth season

  • Post screening conversations will feature award-winning director and writer Meryem Benm’Barek, Saudi-filmmaker Shahd Ameen, and Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala
  • The series presented by NYU Abu Dhabi Film and New Media Program in partnership with Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and The Arts Center at NYUAD will be free and available on multiple platforms

Abu Dhabi, UAE – October 10, 2020: As part of The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) innovative sixth season, the contemporary Arab cinema series, CinemaNa, returns online for its fourth season in collaboration with the NYUAD Film and New Media Program and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

The series seeks not only to showcase groundbreaking films from the Arab world, but also to engage audiences in a deeper conversation around the films’ topics, themes, and their directors’ creative processes, through thought-provoking discussions with both the filmmakers and faculty.

Saudi filmmaker Shahd Ameen will get the season started on October 12 at 7:30pm (GST) with the screening of Scales, followed by a live Q&A session, presented in partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi.  

Scales is a dystopian story of a strong-willed girl living in a poor fishing village governed by tradition, in which every family must give one daughter to the sea creatures that inhabit the nearby waters. Scales was Ameen’s directorial debut, premiering at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival 2019, followed by a screening at the BFI London Film Festival 2019.  

The second film in the CinemaNa series, Sofia, will screen on November 1 at 7:30pm (GST), followed by a Q&A session with director Meryem Benm’Barek. Sofia follows a twenty-year-old woman who lives with her parents in Casablanca. Sofia finds herself breaking the law and giving birth to a baby out of wedlock. The enthralling film directed and written by Moroccan filmmaker Meryem Benm’Barek won the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Screenplay at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

The fall lineup concludes with You Will Die at Twenty by Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala on December 7 at 7:30pm (GST), followed by a Q&A session. Supported by the Palestinian Business Council, the heartbreaking story takes place in the province of Aljazira, Sudan, where Muzamil is born. As the holy man of the village predicts Muzamil’s death at the age of 20, his father cannot stand the impending doom and leaves Sakina, Muzamil’s mother, to raise her son alone.

Executive Director of The Arts Center at NYUAD Bill Bragin said: “CinemaNa is an outstanding example of The Art Center’s ability not only to showcase compelling and original films, but to create an experience that enriches the wider arts scene in the region. With the support of our cultural and educational partners, we are diving deeper into the creative processes behind these stunning films to inspire film-watchers and creators alike, to contribute to the continued growth of film culture in the UAE.” 

Associate Professor of Film at NYUAD Scandar Copti, commented: “We are thrilled to screen three critically acclaimed and award-winning directorial debuts this fall and create space for an open dialogue about art, film, and the diverse cultural and social issues portrayed in these films. We invite audiences to join the virtual post-screening Q&A for an in-depth conversation with the filmmakers.”

Assistant Professor of Sociology at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Clio Chaveneau added, “We are delighted to have been able to maintain CinemaNa in the current context, as moving to online screenings allowed us to continue sharing meaningful and powerful recent films from the region that tackle important and diverse social topics with our UAE audiences.”

The online screenings are free of charge and open to the public via registration.

For more information on the films and how to book tickets for the online screenings, please visit The Arts Center at NYUAD’s website. For the latest updates, follow @NYUADArtsCenter on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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