Academy Partners on Arab Cinema Showcase

Sid Ganis
Sid Ganis
 Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), in partnership with the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), will rollout a two-day screening event in L.A. entitled "Arab Cinema Classics."

Three hand-picked movies from the 100 Greatest Arab Films list, created to celebrate a decade of DIFF in 2013, will air on June 13 and June 21 at the Bing Theater, including Shadi Abdel Salam’s The Night of Counting the Years (Al-Mummia) from 1970, which is based on the true story of the Horabat tribe’s 1881 plundering of pharaohs’ tombs in the ancient city of Thebes.

Egyptian auteur Youssef Chahine's 1958 film Cairo Station (Bab el Hadid), which takes place at Cairo’s main railroad station, commonly referred to as the Iron Gate, and offers a tense portrait of life at the margins of Egyptian society, will also unspool.

And rounding out the curated selection is West Beirut, the directorial debut for writer-director Ziad Doueiri set in the tumultuous spring of 1975, as the Lebanese Civil War unfolds.

Drawing up the 100 Greatest Arab Films list, DIFF worked with nearly 500 prominent film critics, writers, novelists, academics and other arts professionals to compile it.

The screening series is part of the Academy’s international outreach initiative, which brings together Academy members representing a range of cinematic crafts with filmmakers and film lovers from around the world.

"The vibrancy of Arab cinema today owes much to the rich legacy and proud history of Arab filmmaking," said Sid Ganis, chair of the International Outreach Committee.

DIFF festival chairman Abdulhamid Juma said: "DIFF’s 100 Greatest Arab Films list was created as a cultural touchstone for anyone with an interest in Arab cinema or those discovering it for the first time.  Partnering with The Academy to showcase highlights from the list is a fantastic mark of the quality of filmmaking included in it and demonstrates the international desire to explore the cinematic heritage of the region."

The Academy and DIFF previously announced a partnership in November 2013, whereby a delegation from the Academy designed and hosted a customized program of events for DIFF 2013.

During the festival the Academy announced that DIFF had qualified as a festival that can contribute short films for Oscar consideration.

The qualification will apply to the Muhr Arab and Muhr Asia Africa shorts competitions, making the festival the first from the Arab world to be on the list.

Winning films from last year’s festival can qualify for the Academy’s 2015 competition.

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