Founded in 2012, the SAFAR Film Festival is the festival in the UK dedicated to presenting cinema from across the Arab world. SAFAR offers a unique space for audiences to connect with, explore, and celebrate Arab cinema past, present, and future.
During the Festival and throughout the year, we showcase the broad range of talent from the region by working with curators on themed programmes and inviting filmmakers for live Q&As. We develop the UK film landscape through industry events and opportunities for early-career Arab British filmmakers and programmers. We aim to increase access to Arab cinema in the UK by working with screening partners across the country, as well as offering digital programmes.
With screenings taking place in 8 cities and online, The Stories We Tell in Arab Cinema invited audiences to go back to the very essence of filmmaking: storytelling. Featuring UK premieres, new releases and classics, the film selection explored the devices used by Arab filmmakers to push cinematic boundaries, reclaim overlooked histories, and presented new perspectives to audiences both at home and abroad.
The 2021 edition of SAFAR is curated by Rabih El-Khoury around the theme of Generational Encounters in Arab Cinema, showcasing contemporary and classic films with emergent youth, familial disparities and societal tensions at their centre.
The SAFAR From Home programme runs online from 13 - 20 September and offers 5 screenings for audiences to view online for a week, plus 5 live events over 5 evenings featuring leading filmmaking talent from across the Arab world and the UK. The events programme is accessible across the globe; film access is restricted to the UK but with some variations.
The only festival in the UK solely focused on programming Arab cinema, Safar returns for its fourth edition with a new theme: literary adaptation and influence in Arab Cinema. Held at the ICA and the Institut Francais, Safar will examine the enduring and symbiotic relationship of literature and film in the Arab world, presenting a rich and diverse programme of cinema from the 1960s to the present day.
The only festival in the UK solely focused on programming Arab cinema, Safar returns to the ICA for its third edition with a selection of UK premieres ranging from Morocco all the way to Kuwait.
After the phenomenal success of the inaugural festival in 2012, the Arab British Centre returns to the ICA with Safar. The only festival in the UK solely focused on programming popular Arab cinema, Safar includes UK premieres alongside classics of the Arab silver screen. These will be accompanied by Q&As, special introductions and a day-long forum which will bring together some of the most significant figures in Arab cinema. Safar has expanded its scope this year to include an exhibition of vintage Arab movie posters, memorabilia and contemporary art inspired by film, all shown in the UK for the first time.
In September 2012 the Arab British Centre in partnership with the ICA and Dubai International Film Festival presented Safar: A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema, the most ambitious season of popular Arabfilmever seen in the UK.