Arab Film Fest Tulsa – presented by Mizna, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and Circle Cinema
Thu Oct 21 – Sun Oct 24 2021
all programs at Circle Cinema
As seating is limited while Circle Cinema operates under COVID precautions, we strongly encourage purchasing tickets in advance before they sell out.
Tickets for individual films are available on a pay-what-you-can sliding scale for $9, $7, or $5 each.

Masks are required for all guests – courtesy masks are available at the theater if you don’t have one.

Tulsa Artist Fellow Moheb Soliman is collaborating with award-winning Arab American art organization Mizna to bring contemporary national and international Arab/Southwest Asian & North African (SWANA) films to Circle Cinema for four days of amazing films. The festival is also made possible thanks to generous support from the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Curating partner Mizna brings a nuanced approach to art and identity, representing the diversity and complexity of Arab and Arab American experience and those of other intersecting communities.

7pm Thu Oct 21 – Souad + talk with director

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Drama | 96min | Dir. Ayten Amin | Egypt

Includes a pre-recorded Q&A with director Ayten Amin that will play after the film.

Zagazig, a small city on the Nile Delta in Egypt. Today. Souad, a 19-year-old woman, leads a double life. She is conservative and veiled among her family and society, but also obsessed with her image on social media, where she has several secret virtual relationships with men. She lies about her personal life and fantasizes about the life she most desires. Yet, her ambitions and dreams are slowly crushed by reality. A series of small incidents lead to tragedy, and her sister, 13-year-old Rabab, embarks on a journey looking for answers about her sister’s life and dreams.


9pm Thu Oct 21 – Opening night reception at Circle Cinema

All tickets to Souad also include a post-film reception to kick off the festival! Enjoy locally made food from Arab restaurants plus live music by DJ Mateo Galindo of Atomic Culture. Meet special visiting Mizna staff, discuss the film, see the Mizna posters and literary journal covers on display, and look forward to the great movies and events to come over the next three days.


7pm Fri Oct 22 – 200 Meters

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Drama | 96min | Dir. Ameen Nayfeh | Palestine, Jordan, Qatar

Mustafa and his wife Salwa live 200 meters apart in villages separated by the Israeli border wall. One day he gets a call every parent dreads: his son has been injured in an accident. Rushing to cross the Israeli checkpoint, Mustafa is denied on a technicality. But a father’s love won’t give up and he will do anything to reach his son. A 200 meter distance becomes a 200 kilometer odyssey, as Mustafa, left with no choice, attempts to smuggle himself to the other side of the wall.


2pm Sat Oct 23 – Sudanese film retrospective

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See two shorts from acclaimed Sudanese filmmakers Eltayeb Mahdi and Suliman Elnour followed by a documentary about their work to reopen an outdoor theater while standing up against censorship.

Al Dhareeh (The Tomb)

Drama | 17min | Dir. Eltayeb Mahdi | Sudan | 1977
The story of a man who claims to be able to heal people.

Wa Lakin Alardh Tadur (It Still Rotates)

Doc | 19min | Dir. Suliman Elnour | Sudan | 1978
Depicts everyday life at the time of a school in Yemen.

Talking About Trees

Watch the trailer

Doc | 93min | Dir. Suhaib Gasmelbari | Sudan

Four older Sudanese filmmakers with passion for film battle to bring cinema-going back to Sudan, not without resistance. Their ‘Sudanese Film Club’ have decided to revive an old cinema, and again draw attention to Sudanese film history.


7pm Sat Oct 23 – We Are From There

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Doc | 82min | Dir. Wissam Tanios | Lebanon

Two Syrian brothers in their mid 20s take a leap of faith and decide to start their lives from scratch in new cities. They leave everything behind except their passion for life, determination, sense of humor and hope for a better future. Their closest cousin, Wissam, decides to film their odysseys for over five years, questioning the true meaning of home, bringing back some childhood memories, while exploring the human ability to cope with change as radical as it may be.


2pm Sun Oct 24 – Filmmaker Focus: Darine Hotait

Click here for tickets | Click here for more info about Darine

Explore the short films of award-winning director Darine Hotait at a special Filmmaker Focus program. Following the films, Darine will join Circle Cinema via zoom for a live virtual chat to discuss her work, share insights, and take questions.

Based in New York, Darine Hotait is an American Lebanese writer and film director of a dozen award-winning narrative short films. Her work focuses on the politics of identity, Arab & African diaspora, science fiction, and magical realism. The program will feature three of her shorts:

I Say Dust | 14min | Watch the Trailer
Two Arab-American women in New York City fall in love, argue home and identity, engage in a chess battle, and express themselves through the power of the spoken word.

Like Salt | 25min | Watch the Trailer
Two Arab-American women in New York City fall in love, argue home Hala, an Arab American female boxer in New York City, and Kendrick, an African American jazz musician, improvise their way through a passive aggressive America. 

Tallahassee | 22min | Watch the Trailer
The portrayal of a young woman’s re-entry into the world, a meditation on the enormous task of life after grief. Framed in the context of diaspora, this film grants a glimpse into the struggles of mental illness, an issue often silenced and pathologized in Arab culture.


4pm Sun Oct 24 – Closing reception at Circle Cinema

Between the two programs on Sunday, enjoy a special reception to close the festival! Tickets to either of the films on Sunday will include admission to the reception after the Darine Hotait program and before 1982. There will be locally made food from Arab restaurants, special visiting Mizna staff, and more as we celebrate the first Arab Film Fest Tulsa.


5:30pm Sun Oct 24 – 1982

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Drama | 100min | Dir. Oualid Mouaness | Lebanon

During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon at a private school on the outskirts of Beirut, 11-year-old Wissam tries to tell a classmate about his crush on her, while his teachers on different sides of the political divide, try to mask their fears.