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Calgary Arab Nights Film Festival celebrates 10 years

Organizers said it’s an opportunity to showcase to Calgarians the artistic talent in the Arab culture.

The Calgary Arab Arts & Culture Society (CAACS) is celebrating its 10th Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival (CAFN).

CAACS will be showcasing a variety of films, documentaries, and stand-up comedy shows based on Arab art and culture.

CAACS has been organizing its Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival since 2013. This year, the festival will take place at the Globe Cinema.

“This year, the festival is going to be quite unique especially for the artists themselves,” said a CAACS board member, Bassem Hafez.

“This has been a year of exciting growth that included collaboration with local, regional and international film festivals.”

About the organization

The Calgary Arab Arts and Culture Society is a not-for-profit non-denominational organization whose objectives include:

– Presenting a positive view of Arab life and society as an alternative to what is portrayed in the media.

– Introducing audiences to the humanity, love and humour in daily Arab life.

– Showcasing the rich history and diversity of Arab culture.

– Highlighting the complexities of the region to challenge the simplified way of looking at Arab communities.

According to one of the organization’s contributing artists and a member of its board, Sleman Aldib, the society is contributing to Calgary’s thriving arts and cultural scene. They’re actively promoting arts and culture events including cinema, visual art, comedy, literature, poetry and spoken word.

“It’s very important to support Arabic artists in the city and give them a chance to shine, and give them the chance to make connections in the city,” said Aldib.

“It’s also a way to show non-Arabic speakers in Calgary, what Arab, Middle Eastern artists are capable of artistically and to showcase what our culture can present to them.”

The Festival begins with the Opening Night event “Canadian Eye on the Arab World”, featuring a screening of locally produced “Uncivilized”, a short documentary film directed by SAIT graduate, Rawd Almasoud.

“Rawd Almasoud’s film will be showcased at our festival and we’ll also be gifting it to be showcased at the Calgary Justice Film Festival as well,” said Hafez.

The short film will be followed by Canadian-made “Peace by Chocolate”, based on the true story of the Hadhad family, Syrian refugees who established the Peace by Chocolate artisanal chocolate shop. 

According to Hafez, CAACS is proud of its collaborations and partnerships. It showcases the growth of the society in itself allowing for the understanding of openness of Arab art and culture.

“This year, we were delighted to continue our relationship with CIFF (Calgary International Film Festival), being the community partner to the Moroccan feature, The Blue Caftan,” said Hafez.

“CAACS is partnering as well with the Calgary European Film Festival, the Calgary Justice Film Festival and the Okotoks Film Festival screening Arab features, documentaries and shorts at the partner festivals.”

The Calgary Arab Film Nights Festival will run from Oct. 7 until Oct. 9 at the Globe Cinema and tickets can be purchased online.