What to Watch at the Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival

The 11th annual festival features more than a dozen films at Globe Cinema from October 20 to 22.

Image from the film Arab Women Say What?! Photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

For the 11th year, the Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society is bringing back the Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival, a two-day festival highlighting Arab culture through films from around the world — including a few local films, too. Since its first iteration, the film festival has welcomed more than 4,000 attendees and screened more than 150 films from more than 10 Arab countries.

For this year’s festival, all film screenings will be shown at Globe Cinema. Tickets for single screenings and festival passes can be purchased online at calgaryarabartssociety.ca. Here are three flicks to check out.


Arab Women Say What?!

On October 20, Alberta-based, Egyptian-Canadian filmmaker Nisreen Baker opens the festival with the world premiere of her new National Film Board film, Arab Women Say What?! The documentary focuses on a group of eight Arab women living in Canada who explore issues of feminism, politics, exile and their yearning for a sense of belonging. This is a follow-up to Baker’s 2016 film, Things Arab Men Say.


Beit el Ruby

Directed by Peter Mimi, this feel-good comedy focuses on a rural family living outside of Cairo who must travel back to the big city. After a social media mishap several years ago, Ibrahim Al Ruby successfully relocated his wife and children to a village outside Cairo to escape the pressures of modern life. But when his younger, extroverted brother Ihab convinces the family to head back to the city, the family embarks on a trip that changes their lives forever. Beit el Ruby screens at the festival twice on October 21 and October 22.


The Lebanese Burger Mafia

Edmonton-based writer and director Omar Mouallem’s documentary focuses on his journey across rural Alberta to unearth the stories and intertwined histories of the Lebanese immigrants, like his own family, running the mysterious fast-food chain Burger Baron. The Lebanese Burger Mafia screens on October 22.

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