2013 Grant Recipients
In 2013 the following recipients benefitted from grants from The Arab British Centre:
Birds Eye View Film Festival/Haifaa El Mansour Visit
Birds Eye View Film Festival celebrates women filmmakers. The 2013 festival begins on 8 March with a special International Women’s Day Gala screening of Haifaa Al-Mansour’s film, Wadjda. The first feature‐length film to be made in Saudi Arabia, Wadjda premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012 where it won multiple awards for its inspiring, humorous and gently subversive look at life in modern‐day Riyadh. BEV has secured a special preview screening of Wadjda to begin its 2013 celebration of Arab women filmmakers. The screening is to be followed by a free discussion with Haifaa Al‐Mansour.
Kalimat Magazine / P21 Gallery – In The City – Graphic Design & Sound Art Exhibition
In the City is an absorbing graphic design and sound art exhibition which provides a rare glimpse into four Arab cities. Hosted at P21 Gallery, the exhibition will be a first of its kind in London to showcase a series of commissioned and pre-existing works from an eclectic line up of established and emerging Arab designers, illustrators, video, and sound artists. In the City transports the audience through four enigmatic, but overlooked Arab cities – Alexandria, Algiers, Baghdad and Nablus – by recapturing and reimagining elements of those cities. The collection explores each city’s panorama through their streets, landmarks, people, signage, and sounds. Every room contains elements borrowed from the city it represents, forming a variety of installations that will entice interaction between the audience and the work.
Sudan After Separation: New North, Old North
Frederique Cifuentes focuses on the arts and culture of Sudan and here is producing a 40 minute documentary film (plus special events) looking at how Sudanese artists and intellectuals from the Diaspora are playing a part in shaping the new Sudan. Cifuentes has identified ten eminent Sudanese protagonists based in Europe who are taking part in this distinctive and unique journey interrogating and repositioning Sudan into a context of post-separation from South Sudan as well as the Arab Spring in the neighbouring countries. The film will deliver an intimate portrait of Sudan and overcome stereotypes and prejudices that too often distort our view of this country. This film is an attempt to showcase a remarkable cultural heritage, which is rooted between traditional African, Arab, Islamic and European sources but also inspires a generation of artists in Sudan and elsewhere in Africa, the MENA region and around the world.
Medina Films – The First Cinema
When Michelle Coomber’s great grandfather built the Al Hamra Cinema on Baghdad’s Al Rasheed Street, he was working in Iraq for the British Army. And when Lawrence of Arabia came on one of his dinner visits to the house – stepping gingerly over the odd snake or scorpion on the porch – he’d discuss his plans for it, alongside the day’s pressing issues: the rise of Arab Nationalism, the newly discovered oil fields… His name was Frank Arnold. Born in England in 1888, he was wiry, fiery, and in the words of his daughter – Coomber’s grandmother Shafika, ‘‘intense…different”. Contradictory and controversial, he was sympathetic to the Iraqi Republican movement, yet a passionate instigator of the British imperial project. In Baghdad he married Tefaha Matook – an Armenian holocaust refugee. Shafika, who was born in Iraq, explains that her mother Tefaha was a “polished jewel of a woman”, who’d drag rice sacks to the jail to feed the Iraqi prisoners, and gave away her daughter’s toys to the local children. Their privileged expat existence was soon to be punctured by death, war and the loss of a small fortune.
Through the story of cinema in Iraq, and the personal story of the Al Hamra, ‘The First Cinema’ will give a new perspective on the country’s past and future, celebrating its rich cultural heritage and the vibrant talents of today’s talented filmmakers.
3Fates presents Return
A group of experienced female professionals have come together to make original, innovative work. As a company, 3Fates aim to break down the traditional roles of theatre makers to immerse every member of the company in the creation of a production. 3Fates write collaboratively and are always looking to explore new languages for expression.
Return is a verbatim theatre piece that brings an act of civilian journalism to the stage, exploring the role of Iraqi women under occupation and in rebuilding a nation. Return unearths compelling accounts from resilient women – presenter and poet Selwa, the Oprah of the Middle East and activist Hana Adwar who fought for and won 25% of women’s seats in the Iraqi parliament.
“The voices of women and of ordinary Iraqis has been missing for too long from the discussions on Iraq. Return provided access directly into these women’s lives, allowing them to speak for themselves. It was powerful, moving and at times hilarious. One of the finest pieces of theatre I have been to in a long time.” (Dan Gorman, Reel Iraq)
The trailer for Return can be seen here.
Return was performed at Rich Mix in London on 7 February 2014.