Arab Film Fest 20

The twentieth annual Arab Film Festival opens soon in five California cities.

San Francisco 7 – 11 October 2016, Oakland 12 – 14 October 2016, Berkeley 15 – 16 October 2016, Los Angeles 21 – 23 October 2016, and San Diego 27 – 30 October 2016.

Clash directed by Mohamed Diab (Egypt) 2016 is the opening night film at the Castro Theatre. It will be preceded by a reception and followed by a party at Mercer featuring DJ Emancapacion. Subsequent San Francisco screenings will be at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.

Very Big Shot directed by Mir-Jean Bou Chaya (Lebanon) 2015 is the opening night film at Harmony Gold in Los Angeles. Iraqi Odyssey is the opening film at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego.

This year’s festival includes narrative features, documentaries, and shorts from Egypt, France, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey.

For more information and tickets contact Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved


Shared Dish

Hummus! The Movie directed by Oren Rosenfeld (USA/Israel) 2015 documents a popular Middle Eastern spread.


Chickpeas (garbanzos) and tahini are the basic ingredients for a dish that probably originated in Egypt. But the Lebanese have strong claims to it.

It’s increasingly appreciated by people from the three major religious faiths in the area and increasingly enjoyed by a very diverse group of both locals and tourists.

Hummus has become an all consuming activity for a widow who took over her late husband’s restaurant, a religious calling for a spiritual seeker, and an adventure for someone unsatisfied with the established business passed on to him by his father.

The documentary hops around from one town to another in its quest for the culinary treat.

The film will be screened three times during the upcoming San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: Cinéarts, Palo Alto Square Saturday 23 July 2016, Castro Theatre, San Francisco Sunday 24 July 2016, and Piedmont Theatre, Oakland Friday 5 August 2016.

Contact Jewish Film Institute for more info and tickets.

copyright © 2016 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

Arab Film Festival

From A To B directed by Ali F. Mostafa (Jordan/Lebanon/United Arab Emirates) 2014 opens the 19th annual Arab Film Festival at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco Friday 16 October 2015.


Other films during the ten-day Bay Area event include: Atlantic directed by Jan-Willem van Ewijk (Belgium/France/Germany/Morocco/Netherlands) 2014, The Cut directed by Fatih Akin (Belgium/France/Germany/Morocco/Netherlands) 2014, On The Banks Of The Tigris directed by Marsha Emerman (Australia/Iraq/Israel) 2015, On The Bride’s Side directed by Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele del Grande, & Khaled Soliman al Nassiry (Italy) 2014, and Oriented directed by Jake Witzenfeld (Israel/Palestine) 2015.

For more information and tickets contact the Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

Women Work

Partner With The Enemy directed by Duki Dror and Chen Shelach (Israel) 2015 documents the partnership of two women in the shipping business who set out to overcome the obstacles to cargo transport through Israeli ports to and from Palestine.


Anat and her family live in a kibbutz while Rola and her’s are in Ramallah. Their early success helps bring in new clients but increased hostilities in the region threaten to destroy the joint venture.

The full-length feature was preceded by Women In Sink, a short documentary in a Haifa hair salon.

The program will be repeated once more Friday afternoon 7 August 2015 at the Lakeside Theater in Oakland during San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 35.

For more information and tickets contact the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.


The 35th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival runs from 23 July to 9 August 2015 in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, and San Rafael.


Among the dramatic features are: A La Vie; The Law; Manpower; Mr. Kaplan; My Shortest Love Affair; Once In A Lifetime; Open Bethlehem; Papa Was Not A Rolling Stone; Partner With The Enemy; Probation Time; Red Leaves; and Villa Touma.

A couple of relevant documentaries are: The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story Of Cannon Films and Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict.

For more information contact the Jewish Film Institute.

copyright © 2015 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved.

Man Alone

An Arab physician working in a Tel Aviv hospital receives a prestigious award for his services but a distant explosion soon undermines all that he’s achieved and everything he values.


The Attack directed by Ziad Doueiri (Belgium/Qatar/Lebanon/France) 2012 movingly explores the dilemma of a man who’s devoted his life to healing but finds himself caught in the ongoing war between Israelis and Palestinians.

It will screen again at the California Theater in Berkeley Sunday 4 August 2013 during the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Freedom Calls

Automobiles transformed the world over the last century. The US the auto industry headquartered in Detroit provided good-paying jobs for workers of all races. It was an important component of the new suburban lifestyle that developed after WWII. Cars became a potent symbol of power and freedom, primarily for young men, but the benefits eventually reached women as well.

Black gold made a few lucky people rich in states such as Texas and Oklahoma where oil rigs pumped it from the ground. Though, predictably, most of the wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few at the very top of the economic pyramid.

As US fuel supplies dwindled, the search for new sources of petroleum widened to encompass rich deposits in Mexico and Venezuela, the Middle East, and North Africa with corresponding economic and political consequences.

Mobil telephones are one of the technological wonders of the present century. They promise to connect people long-isolated with others in a worldwide network. Too often separating their users from those nearest to them. Looking at other passengers in the subway, I see many of them staring at their smart phones or furiously tapping out messages.

Man Without A Cell Phone, directed by Sameh Zoabi (Palestine, Israel, Belgium, France, Qatar) 2011, captures the restless spirit of the young craving romance and freedom. Jawdat uses his cell phone to make dates with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish girls. His father, Salem, considers the cell phone tower at the edge of his land a health risk for the entire community.

The story is set in the home village of the director, who now lives in Brooklyn. Its inhabitants, Arab Israelis, are Palestinians living within Israel. This delightful comedy provides a fresh look at everyday life in the Middle East. Very much in touch with the times. The perfect opening film for the 16rh Annual Arab Film Festival!

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved