With numerous Arab films, filmmakers and artists participating in one of the world's biggest cultural events, the Arab World is expected to shine at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.
The Tunisian film "Inhebbek Hedi (Hedi)," directed by Tunisian director Mohamed Ben Attia, will be representing the region in the official competition of this year's Berlinale, which will take place between Feb. 11-21.
The film, which will also have its world premiere at the festival, will compete against 17 other films from around the world for the Berlinale's prestigious Golden and Silver Bear Awards.
"Inhebbek Hedi (Hedi)" is Attia's first feature film and it tells the story of a young man named Hedi, who lets people push him around until he falls in love with a young woman working in a Tunisian resort, forcing him to take control of his own life.
Elsewhere in the Berlinale, more than eight Arab films, as well as several Arab artists and their works, will be featured in the festival's "Forum Expanded" program.
The theme of this year's Forum is "Traversing the Phantasm," which is represented in the films and exhibitions as "collective fantasies or (geo-)political realities of various different manifestations," according to the Belinale .
"The works shown in the film programs and the exhibitions set themselves the task of not just depicting such phantasms but also working their way through them."
"Subjects such as war, national statehood, arms exports, forced migration or capitalism are investigated as components of ideology and mythology using the language of cinema."
The Egyptian films that will be featured in the program include "Zakerat Abad El Shams (A Stroll Down Sunflower Lane)", "Fathy La Yaeesh Hona Baad Ala'n (Fathy Doesn't Live Here Anymore)" and "Kama Tohalleq al Teyour (As Birds Flying)", by filmmakers Mayye Zayed, Maged Nader and Heba Amin respectively.
Films from Lebanon include "Wadee'at tasallul (Offside)", "Al Marhala Al Rabiaa (The Fourth Stage) " and "Now: End of Season", by filmmakers Marwan Hamdan, Ahmad Ghossein and Ayman Nahle respectively.
In addition to the films being screened, Ghossein will perform "When the Ventriloquist Came and Spoke to Me" during the Forum, while Egyptian writer Haytham El-Wardany will perform a special reading of "The Hanging Garden of Sleep".
Prominent Kuwaiti-born, Amman-based artist Ala Younis will also present her work, as her visionary archive titled "The Unbelievable Photos Taken by the Crazy Russians Who Illegally Climbed Egypt’s Great Pyramid" will be featured.
Moreover, the Network of Arab Arthouse Screens (NAAS), a network of art-house cinema institutions across the Arab World, and Cimatheque, an alternative film center in Cairo, will co-host a discussion panel titled "Traversing Phantasms."