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Arab Film Fest Tulsa returns Thu 11/3-Sun 11/6

Curated by Mizna and Supported by the Tulsa Artist Fellowship

Mark your calendars for the return of Arab Film Fest Tulsa! After a successful debut last year, the festival returns for a second year presenting acclaimed contemporary films from Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, and more, and featuring special guests, local restaurants, and community partnerships.

All-Access pass includes a special gift from Mizna and admission to all films and receptions. Individual film tickets are $8 each except for "The Forbidden Reel" which is offered as a pay-what-you-can ticket. All-Access pass holders must arrive 15 minutes before showtime for priority seating. After that time, any open seats for sold-out films will be offered to a waitlist.

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Thursday November 3
Memory Box + short Warsha - 7:00p - tickets here

Stay for the Arab Film Fest Tulsa opening reception after the film in the lobby!

Lebanon, Canada, France | Arabic & French with English subtitles | Drama | 102min

Directed by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige

Maia, a single mother, lives in Montreal with her teenage daughter Alex. On Christmas Eve, they receive an unexpected delivery: notebooks, tapes, and photos from Beirut that Maia sent to her best friend during the 1980s. Maia refuses to open the box or confront its memories, but Alex secretly begins diving into it. Between fantasy and reality, Alex enters the world of her mother’s tumultuous, passionate adolescence during the Lebanese civil war, unlocking mysteries of a hidden past.

Watch the trailer here.

Short film: Warsha

Lebanon | Arabic with English subtitles | Drama | 15min

Directed by Dania Bdeir

Mohammad is a crane operator working in Beirut. One morning he volunteers to take on one of the tallest and notoriously most dangerous cranes in Lebanon. Up above, he is able to live out his secret passion and find freedom.

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Opening Reception - 9:00p

Stay after "Memory Box" to kick off Arab Film Fest Tulsa with an opening reception! Featuring Lebanese cuisine samples catered by Shawkat and live music with DJ Mateo Galindo of Atomic Culture.

Meet and chat with fellow festival attendees, enjoy light bites and live tunes, and immerse yourself in the culture as we look forward to the great films coming up with the festival.

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Friday November 4
Boy From Heaven - 8:00p - tickets here

Egypt, Sweden | Arabic with English subtitles | Drama, Thriller | 126min

Directed by Tarik Saleh

Adam, the son of a fisherman, is offered the ultimate privilege to study at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the epicenter of power of Sunni Islam. Shortly after his arrival in Cairo, the university’s highest ranking religious leader, the Grand Imam, suddenly dies and Adam soon becomes a pawn in a ruthless power struggle between Egypt's religious and political elite.

 

Watch a clip here.

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Saturday November 5
The Forbidden Reel - 4:00p - pay-what-you-can tickets here

Special offer - as Tulsa welcomes Afghan refugees, tickets for this timely film are offered at an accessible pay-what-you-can price.

Afghanistan, Canada | English and Dari with English subtitles | Documentary | 119min

Directed by Ariel Nasr

Virtual Q&A with director Ariel Nasr after the film

Michelle Baroody, festival curator, will be in-person at Circle to moderate a special virtual Q&A with The Forbidden Reel director Ariel Nasr. Don't miss this unique opportunity to talk with the director of this incredible film!

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Driven to create amidst war and chaos, Afghan filmmakers gave birth to an extraordinary national cinema. Driven to destroy, Taliban extremists set out to torch that legacy. Marvelling in the beauty and fragile power of movies, Afghan-Canadian director Ariel Nasr crafts a thrilling and utterly original story of modern Afghanistan.

 

Watch the trailer here.

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The Blue Caftan - 8:00p - tickets here

Morocco | Arabic with English subtitles | Drama | 122min

Directed by Maryam Touzani

Halim and Mina run a traditional caftan store in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas. In order to keep up with the commands of the demanding customers, they hire Youssef. The talented apprentice shows an utmost dedication in learning the art of embroidery and tailoring from Halim. Slowly, Mina realizes how much her husband is moved by the presence of the young man.

 

Watch a clip here.

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Sunday November 6
Foragers + short When Light is Displaced - 1:00p - tickets here
Stay for the Arab Film Fest Tulsa closing reception after the film in the lobby!

Palestine | Arabic & Hebrew with English subtitles | Documentary, Drama | 65min

Directed by Jumana Manna

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With special guest Chef Nico Albert of Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods

Chef Nico Albert (ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ Cherokee Nation) is a self-taught chef, caterer and student of traditional indigenous cuisines based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Chef Albert will discuss the similarities faced by Native Americans and Palestinians with food sovereignty and sustainability. 

Foragers moves between documentary and fiction to depict the dramas between the Israeli Nature Protection Authority and Palestinian foragers. With a wry sense of humor, the film captures the inherited love, resilience and knowledge of these traditions, over an eminently political backdrop.

 

Watch the trailer here.

Short film: When Light is Displaced

Palestine, United States | Arabic with English subtitles | Documentary | 7min

Directed by Zaina Bseiso

Interested in its parallels with the fate of the Jaffa oranges, the filmmaker tells her father about her intention to film the last orange grove in Los Angeles. Their disagreement transforms the grove into a space for contemplating the politics of storytelling in the multigenerational experience of Palestine in exile.

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Closing Reception - 2:30p-4:00p

Close out Arab Film Fest Tulsa in style with a special reception between the final two films. After speaking with the film "Foragers," Chef Nico Albert of Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods will stay on hand with light bites for the reception. Join us in celebrating a successful festival as we look forward to next year!

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The Gravedigger's Wife + short Will My Parents Come to See Me - 4:00p - tickets here
Come early for the Arab Film Fest Tulsa closing reception before the film in the lobby!

Djibouti, Somalia | Somali with English subtitles | Drama | 82min

Directed by Khadar Ayderus Ahmed

Guled and Nasra live in Djibouti City with their teenage son, Mahad. They are happy, but Nasra urgently needs an expensive surgery to treat a chronic kidney disease. Guled works hard as a gravedigger to make ends meet, but he’s not sure how they will find the money to keep the family together.

 

Watch the trailer here.

Short film: Will My Parents Come to See Me

Somalia | Somali with English subtitles | Drama | 28min

Directed by Mo Harawe

A policewoman sits in her parked car. After a while, she gets out, puts on her service cap, and enters the prison. There, decisive hours have dawned for young Farah; he is examined by a doctor, instructed by the bailiff, and looked after by an imam. And he continues waiting for his parents to visit. 

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Mizna

Mizna, curators of Arab Film Fest Tulsa, is a critical platform for contemporary literature, film, art, and cultural production centering the work of Arab and Southwest Asian and North African artists. For more than twenty years, we have been creating a decolonized cultural space to reflect the expansiveness of our community and to foster exchange, examine ideas, and engage audiences in meaningful art. Named City Page's Nonprofit of the Year in 2020 and a Regional Cultural Treasure in 2021, we publish Mizna, an award-winning SWANA lit and art journal; produce the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, the largest and longest running Arab film fest in the Midwest; and offer classes, readings, performances, public art, and community events, having featured over 400 local and global writers, filmmakers, and artists.

Click here to learn more.

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Tulsa Artist Fellowship

Tulsa Artist Fellowship, located in the heart of Oklahoma’s Green Country, is an initiative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF). Using evidence-based practices, GKFF invests in a culturally vibrant and economically robust Tulsa with the belief that a thriving community will afford high quality opportunities for all residents. With GKFF’s strong belief that the arts are essential to a diverse and engaged city, Tulsa Artist Fellowship was established in 2015 as a program dedicated to addressing the most pressing challenges in artistic communities and serving as a globally recognized model for mobilizing communities with the transformative power of art.

Click here to learn more.