Curatorially, the 2013 Alwan Film Festival has a strong focus on new narrative and documentary feature films from the Middle East and North Africa. Short films and documentaries are noticeable absent compared with previous years. With the availability of tablets and smart phones, and the option of immediate distribution channels such as YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter, there emerged the citizen filmmaker/journalist responding to current events, often while they are happening, and often influencing mainstream media in new ways. These shorts and political documentaries are often quite accomplished and provocative, and that's why we show a good deal of them in our monthly screening series and in our annual Short Video Slam in collaboration with 3rd i NY and numerous colleagues in the activist and academic spheres. Films of the diaspora have proliferated and taken a life of their own, perhaps to the extent to which they have become there own cultural species, deserving of a separate forum, especially in the context of the range of political transitions taking place throughout the region since the mass strikes, demonstrations, and uprising of the so-called "Arab Spring" captured the attention of the world. All of which leads us to what we are actually showing, which attempts to provide a survey of the concerns, aesthetic trends, and most importantly, how the political is approached in Arab film-making today.


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April 25 - May 5, 2013