The second Amman International Film Festival (AIFF) is taking place tomorrow, and we are nothing short of stoked! Filled with content and films, the festival has a special focus on new filmmakers. Emerging Middle Eastern directors and young filmmakers are under the spotlight this year, and the majority of the films will be debuting directors. On this note, the festival stands out in comparison to other film festivals, where a large part of the focus is put on celebrities and the red carpets.
Scroll down for the 10 things we’re looking forward to at this year’s AIFF!
The screening of 51 films
51 films will be screened at the festival from over 26 countries, both from the Arab region and beyond, and some of these films have yet to be premiered for the first time!
41 films competing
Feature films, short films, and documentaries will be screening during the event, competing for the festival’s iconic Black Iris, and Audience awards.
The celebration of first-time actors
First actors are honored during this festival, such as Syrian actor, Yahya Mahayni, who got his first starring role in ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin,’ an Oscar-nominated film by Kaouther Ben Hania.
Four films’ world premiere
Four films will premiere for the first time at the festival, including the Tunisian documentary ‘Manca Moro,’ and ‘Skies of Lebanon,’ the feature-length film by Chloe Mazlo.
A special appearance by a Syrian auteur
There is a section in the festival called “First and Latest.” During this section, the Syrian auteur Mohamed Malas, will share his experience with filmmaking and the evolution of his filming style.
How the selected films tackle prevalent issues today
The selected films have a common theme of self-examination and boldness. They discuss the dominant issues of society. Additionally, this selection displays problems young storytellers face, such as passion, conflict, identity, youth, distinction, family, and seniority.
The master classes and seminars
Besides screenings in the film festival, there will be pitching sessions, master classes, seminars, discussions with film stars, filmmakers, and directors; all to explore the filmmaking industry in the Middle East.
The Black Iris winner
The symbol of the Amman International Film Festival was designed by Mohanna Durra, and it’s called Black Iris. There will be seven films competing for the Black Iris award in the Best Arab Feature-length Narrative category. Seven documentaries will be competing for Best Arab Feature-length Documentary, and 18 films will be competing for Best Arab Narrative Short. Meanwhile, international films will be competing for the Audience Award.
The launch of Istikana platform
AIFF cooperated with Istikana, an online streaming platform, to stream 25 films from the festival; all with the goal of reaching more audiences. The online streaming service will provide a variety of films from different film categories. The founders of Istikana said they developed the service with Amman International Film Festival to find new outlets for publishing notable independent films.
Mai Masri being on the jury panel
The jury panel is ready, and the juror for the Arab Feature-Length Documentary Film will be filmmaker Mai Masri. If you don’t remember who she is, she’s the filmmaker of ‘3000 Nights,’ the film submitted by Jordan for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 89th Academy Awards in 2017.