Several of our grantees are holding film fests this fall with selections that will be sure to entertain and inform even the most discerning movie-goer.

To kick off the film festival season, on October 5 the Boston Palestine Film Festival will present Habibi, directed by Susan Youssef, a story of forbidden love, and the first fiction feature set in Gaza in 15 years.

Two Palestinian students in the West Bank are forced to return home to Gaza, where their love defies tradition. To reach his lover Layla, Qays grafittis poetry across town. Habibi is a modern re-telling of the famous ancient Sufi parable Majnun Layla.

The film trailer is available here.

Beginning October 11, the Arab Film Festival will be presenting several films throughout California. Opening in San Francisco, The Man Without a Cell Phone tells the story of

twenty-something Palestinian-Israeli slacker Jawdat just wants to have fun with his friends, talk on his cell phone and find love. Meanwhile, his curmudgeonly olive-farming father, Salem, is determined to drag Jawdat and his whole community into a fight against a nearby Israeli cell phone tower he fears is poisoning the villagers with radiation. As Salem’s efforts to remove the tower disrupt Jawdat’s precious cell phone reception and communication with his potential girlfriends, Jawdat is forced to face the battle and grow up.

The Arab Film Festival will showcase this and many other selections from throughout the Arab World.

Last but not least, the Arab American Heritage Club will be hosting their annual Arabic Film Series beginning October 26 with Where Do We Go Now, which features a young woman who runs a café in a small Lebanese village

where the local women, both Christian and Muslim, get together to talk, swap ideas, and share grief as the number who’ve lost sons or husbands in frequent skirmishes continues to grow. The fighting between religious and political factions has been going on for years, and one day all the women decide it’s time to stop talking about the fighting and do something to bring it to a halt.

More details about the festival are available here.

We hope that you will be able to experience the film festivals near you, and also be inspired to see some great Arabic cinema on your own.

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