World Premiere of Period Drama Les Adieux à la reine to Open 2012 Berlin Fest

World Premiere of Period Drama Les Adieux à la reine to Open 2012 Berlin Fest

The 62nd Berlin International Film Festival will open on February 9, 2012 with the world premiere of the period drama Les Adieux à la reine (Farewell My Queen) starring as Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds), Léa Seydoux (Midnight in Paris) and Virginie Ledoyen (Army of Crime). In a screen adaptation of Chantal Thomas’ prize-winning novel of the same name, French Director Benoît Jacquot (Tosca, Villa Amalia, Deep in the Woods, among others) portrays the first days […]

BAFTA to honor Martin Scorsese

BAFTA to honor Martin Scorsese

The 2012 BAFTA Film Awards Fellowship will be presented to Martin Scorsese at the Orange British Academy Film Awards ceremony, on 12 February. Awarded annually by BAFTA, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film. Previously honoured Fellows include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench and Vanessa Redgrave. Christopher Lee received […]

10 Films Remain in the Running in Visual Effects Category for Oscar

10 Films Remain in the Running in Visual Effects Category for Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 films remain in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 84th Academy Awards®. The films are listed below in alphabetical order: “Captain America: The First Avenger” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” “Hugo” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” “Real Steel” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” […]

Director Peter Luisi to be honored with Independent Award at 5th San Joaquin International Film Festival

Director Peter Luisi to be honored with Independent Award at 5th San Joaquin International Film Festival

Swiss director and screenwriter, Peter Luisi, will be honored in person with the Film Society’s Independent Award at the Opening Night of the 5th San Joaquin International Film Festival (SJIFF). The Opening Night film is Mr. Luisi’s “The Sandman.” The Independent Award honors a spirited innovator who empowers independent filmmaking through impactful creativity, exemplary talent and steadfast leadership. Mr. Luisi was born in 1975 in Zurich, Switzerland. He studied film production in North Carolina and […]

Cinema Eye Honors Announces 2012 Heterodox Nominees

Cinema Eye Honors Announces 2012 Heterodox Nominees

The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking today announced the five nominees for its second annual Cinema Eye Heterodox Award, sponsored by Filmmaker Magazine. The 2012 Heterodox Award will be presented at the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking on January 11 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, New York. The Cinema Eye Heterodox Award honors a narrative film that imaginatively incorporates nonfiction strategies, content and/or modes of production. These films […]

20 More Films Added to 2012 Berlin International Film Festival

20 More Films Added to 2012 Berlin International Film Festival

20 films have been confirmed for the Panorama section of the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival. The Panorama section with its Main Programme, Panorama Special and Panorama Dokumente series will screen some 50 films in all. Two works by European directors are opening the Panorama Special: Tony Gatlif is returning to Panorama with Indignados. Inspired by Stéphane Hessel’s bestseller “Time for Outrage!” this French film allows viewers, in both enacted scenes and real situations, to […]

The Artist, The Descendant Among Nominees for 23rd Annual Producers Guild Awards

The Artist, The Descendant Among Nominees for 23rd Annual Producers Guild Awards

The Artist, The Descendant, and Midnight In Paris were among the nominees for the 23rd Annual Producers Guild Awards announced today by the Producers Guild of America (PGA).

All 2012 Producers Guild Award winners will be announced on January 21, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Producers Guild will also award special honors to Leslie Moonves (Milestone Award), Steven Spielberg (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures), Don Mischer (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television), Stan Lee (Vanguard Award), and IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY (The Stanley Kramer Award). The 2012 Producers Guild Awards co-chairs are Paula Wagner and Michael Manheim.

The theatrical motion picture nominees are:

Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:

THE ARTIST
Producer: Thomas Langmann

BRIDESMAIDS
Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend

THE DESCENDANTS
Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin

THE HELP
Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green

HUGO
Producers: Graham King, Martin Scorsese

THE IDES OF MARCH
Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

MONEYBALL
Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

WAR HORSE
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

The Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Producers: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

CARS 2
Producer: Denise Ream

KUNG FU PANDA 2
Producer: Melissa Cobb

PUSS IN BOOTS
Producers: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou

RANGO
Producers: John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski  {jathumbnail off}

56 Films To Screen at 2012 Derby City Film Festival

56 Films To Screen at 2012 Derby City Film Festival

56 films have been selected to screen during the three day Derby City Film Festival held February 17th – 19th, 2012. The lineup includes 24 International films representing 16 countries as well as 8 World Premieres, 5 US Premieres, and 28 KY Premieres. Eight films were produced in the Bluegrass State and another 5 have ties to Kentucky.

Opening night includes two feature films shot in Kentucky. At 7:00 PM on February 17th  “Wid Winner and the Slipstream” will open the fest. “Winner”, which was directed by Kentucky native Alex O Gaynor, tells the story of two men who embark on a cross-country journey to face the past, change the future, and collect enough used-auto parts to build a time machine. The 8:00 PM film, “Sam Steele and the Crystal Chalice” is from New Albany filmmaker Tom Whitus and was shot in Downtown Louisville. The film stars Jacob Hays, Kevin Sorbo, Katherine McNamara & Dee Wallace. “Crystal Chalice” is the sequel to “Sam Steel and the Jr. Detective Agency” which screened at DCFF in 2010. The final film on Friday is the suspense film “Johnny’s Gone” from writer and actress LaDon Drummond. “Johnny’s Gone” tells the story of the unsettling but heartfelt relationship between Sarah and a two year-old she calls Johnny. Sarah hides a dark secret that will take them on a road trip across five states from California to Louisiana.

A full slate of workshops, panels, shorts, docs, and features also happen all day Saturday. Highlights include the world premieres of the feature films “Frames” & “Blind Turn”, Producer and Louisville native John Paul Rice’s latest film “Mother’s Red Dress”, the road trip documentary “Bailout”, four short film groups, and 2 International features, “Znikniecie” and “Meherjaan”. Saturday afternoon there will also be a Filmmaker Symposium and Awards Presentation at Clifton’s Pizza from 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM.

Saturday night features 3 more films with Kentucky roots. Louisville natives, and Ballard High graduates, Scooter Downey & Sean Elliot bring the feature “It’s in the Blood” to their hometown. Featuring Lance Henriksen, Elliot & Rose Sirna, “Blood”  tells the tale of a father and son who become stranded in the wild and must confront the horrors of their past to escape with their lives.  However, this wilderness is not what it seems, and as they deteriorate, so to does their concept of reality: horrifying creatures, ghostly apparitions, is it all in their heads, or could the truth be far more terrible? “It’s in the Blood” screens at 8:00 PM with the short film “Endless”.

At 10:00 PM on Saturday audiences will receive a double treat from Louisville filmmakers. First Kristofer Rommel premieres the short “Wireface: In the Beginning” starring Josh Loren, Cindy Maples & Joe Chrysler. “Wireface…” is a prequel film which details the slow decent into madness that turns a loving family man into the serial killer known as “Wireface”. Following the short is Matt Niehoff & Brian Cunningham’s feature film “Overtime”, which was shot in Louisville and features Al Snow, John Wells & Sebrina Siegel. “Overtime” follows two hitmen who find themselves caught up in a conspiracy they never imagined which includes alien zombies. Both films are included on one ticket.

Sunday February 19th features, among other films; the World Premiere of “Smells Like Community Spirit” from Cincinnati filmmaker Isaac Stambaugh, the controversial documentary “Israel vs. Israel” and “Legendary: When Baseball Came to the Bluegrass” from Lexington filmmaker Michael Crisp.

The closing film of the festival will be the Edward Furlong film “Below Zero”, which will screen at 6:00 PM on Sunday. “Zero” follows screenwriter Jack “The Hack” (Furlong) who, facing writer’s block and a crucial deadline, decides to remove himself from all distractions by locking himself in the freezer of an abandoned slaughterhouse, where fiction and reality blur. Inspired by true events, method writer Signe Olynyk’s BELOW ZERO is a twisty story within a story, within a real-life story. The film also stars Kristin Booth and Michael Berryman. “Zero” was directed by Justin Thomas Ostensen who’s film “By the Wayside” screened at the inaugural DCFF in 2008.

The following includes the full list of selected films for the 2012 Derby City Film Festival.{jathumbnail off}

Meryl Streep to be honored at 62nd Berlin International Film Festival

Meryl Streep to be honored at 62nd Berlin International Film Festival

Actress Meryl Streep will be awarded an Honorary Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. “We are delighted to be able to award the Honorary Golden Bear to such a terrific artist and world star. Meryl Streep is a brilliant, versatile performer who moves with ease between dramatic and comedic roles,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick. On February 14, 2012, Meryl Streep will be awarded the Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at […]

The Iron Lady Ruled The Box Office

The Iron Lady Ruled The Box Office

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” starring Tom Cruise topped the box-office for a second week with estimated $31.25 million in ticket sales, and a per-ticket-average of $9,045, but it was Weinstein Company’s debut of “The Iron Lady” that ruled the box-office. Starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, “The Iron Lady” grossed an estimated $221,752 in ticket sales from just only 4 theaters, for a per-theater average of a whopping $55,438. Other films opening to impressive […]

Venice International Film Festival Names New Directors

Venice International Film Festival Names New Directors

The new Board of La Biennale di Venezia, the organization behind the Venice International Film Festival, chaired by Paolo Baratta and composed of Giorgio Orsoni (Vice-President), Luca Zaia, Francesca Zaccariotto and Emmanuele Francesco Maria Emanuele, met for the first time on 27th December 2011 in the Biennale offices at Ca’ Giustinian and appointed the Directors of the Architecture and Cinema sectors. David Chipperfield was named Director of the Architecture Sector with the specific responsibility of […]

Oscar Nomination Ballots Mailed to 5,783 Academy Voters

Oscar Nomination Ballots Mailed to 5,783 Academy Voters

Nomination ballots for the 84th Academy Awards® were mailed today to the 5,783 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Completed ballots must be returned to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. PT on Friday, January 13, 2012. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted. Nomination and final Awards ballots are tabulated by PricewaterhouseCoopers to ensure that all aspects of the balloting process are conducted with fairness and accuracy. Prior to […]

Official Poster for 84th Academy Awards

Official Poster for 84th Academy Awards

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled the poster for the 84th Academy Awards®. The art features the iconic Oscar statuette alongside memorable images from eight films spanning eight decades: “Gone with the Wind” (1939), “Casablanca” (1943), “Giant” (1956), “The Sound of Music” (1965), “The Godfather” (1972), “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989), “Forrest Gump” (1994) and “Gladiator” (2000). All the films featured on the poster won the Academy Award® for Best Picture, except “Giant,” […]

Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi On List of 25 Films Added to National Film Registry of the Library of Congress

Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi On List of 25 Films Added to National Film Registry of the Library of Congress

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington this week released the list of 25 films selected “to be preserved as cultural, artistic and historical treasures in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.” Spanning the period 1912-1994, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, animation, home movies, avant-garde shorts and experimental motion pictures. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 575.

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.

In other news about the registry, “These Amazing Shadows,” a documentary about the National Film Registry, will air nationally on the award-winning PBS series “Independent Lens” on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 10 p.m (check local listings). Written and directed by Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton, this critically acclaimed documentary has also been released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Films Selected to the 2011 National Film Registry

Allures (1961)
Bambi (1942)
The Big Heat (1953)
A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment (1963)
The Cry of the Children (1912)
A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)
El Mariachi (1992)
Faces (1968)
Fake Fruit Factory (1986)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Growing Up Female (1971)
Hester Street (1975)
I, an Actress (1977)
The Iron Horse (1924)
The Kid (1921)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
The Negro Soldier (1944)
Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-40s)
Norma Rae (1979)
Porgy and Bess (1959)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Twentieth Century (1934)
War of the Worlds (1953) {jathumbnail off}

Take Shelter and Attack The Block Among 2011 Austin Film Critics Awards

Take Shelter and Attack The Block Among 2011 Austin Film Critics Awards

The Austin Film Critics Association announced its 2011 awards, with Martin Scorsese’s HUGO, winning Best Film. and the hyper-stylized crime thriller DRIVE taking home three awards, including Best Director for  Nicolas Winding Refn, Best Adapted Screenplay for  writer Hossein Amini, and Best Supporting Actor for Albert Brooks. It was also named the second best film of the year in the AFCA’s overall Top 10 List. Michael Shannon was named Best Actor, while Jessica Chastain received […]

Variety Will Honor actress Charlize Theron and 10 Directors to Watch at Palm Springs International Film Festival

Variety Will Honor actress Charlize Theron and 10 Directors to Watch at Palm Springs International Film Festival

Variety will present actress Charlize Theron with the Indie Impact Award, at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). The Indie Impact Award celebrates a performer and filmmaker for her outstanding contributions to the art and business of cinema. “Charlize Theron continues to make an impact by committing herself to films that exemplify the best in independent cinema,” stated Variety Executive Editor Steven Gaydos.  “She notably won an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG […]

Palm Springs International Film Festival to honor Actress Jessica Chastain and Composer Howard Shore

Palm Springs International Film Festival to honor Actress Jessica Chastain and Composer Howard Shore

The 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will honor Jessica Chastain with the Spotlight Award and composer Howard Shore with the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing. Jessica Chastain will receive the Spotlight Award.  The Spotlight Award honors an actor or actress for their extraordinary performances in the current cinematic year.  Chastain will receive the award for her roles in The Help, The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Debt and Coriolanus. Her […]

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen to Open and Almanya, Welcome to Germany to Close 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen to Open and Almanya, Welcome to Germany to Close 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival

Amr Waked as Sheikh and Ewan McGregor as Fred Jones in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

The 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will launch on Thursday, January 5 with CBS Films’ Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and wraps on Sunday, January 15 with Almanya, Welcome to Germany.  The festival,  running from January 5-16 in Palm Springs, California announced its Galas, Premieres, Modern Masters and a Special Presentation.

OPENING AND CLOSING GALAS
The Festival will open with the screening of CBS Films’ Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (UK.  Directed by Oscar©-nominee Lasse Hallström, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is an extraordinary, beguiling tale of fly-fishing and political spinning, of unexpected heroism and late-blooming love and of an attempt to prove the impossible, possible. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt star in the feature film alongside Oscar©-nominee Kristen Scott  Based on Paul Torday’s acclaimed novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is written by Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy and produced by Paul Webster and executive produced by Jamie Laurenson, Stephen Garrett, Paula Jalfon, Zygi Kamasa and Guy Avshalom.  CBS Films will open the film in US theaters on March 9, 2012.

Almanya, Welcome to Germany

Closing the Festival is Almanya, Welcome to Germany (Germany), neatly structured into two interwoven time frames, this charming, colorfully styled comedy centers on multiple generations of a German-Turkish clan, and derives its touching, laugh-out-loud humor from cultural misunderstandings and the question of what constitutes national identity.  The film has received many accolades including two 2011 German Film Awards including Best Film (Silver) and Best Screenplay and winner of the Audience Award at the Chicago Film Festival.  The film is directed by Yasemin Samdereli and stars Vedat Erincin, Fahri Yardim, Lilay Huser, Demet Gul, Aylin Tezel, Denis Moschitto. {jathumbnail off}

House of Tolerance Tops French Lumière Awards Nominations

House of Tolerance Tops French Lumière Awards Nominations

The nominations for the 17th Lumière Awards, aka the French Golden Globes, were announced, and Bertrand Bonello’s House of Tolerance lead the field with six nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and a surprising three for Best Female Newcomer for actresses Alice Barnole, Adèle Haenel and Céline Sallette. House of Tolerance is described as Bertrand Bonello’s highly stylized look at the final days of a fin-de-siècle brothel in Paris. Michel Hazanavicius’s The Artist […]

Gilles Jacob Wins A New Term As President of Cannes Film Festival

Gilles Jacob Wins A New Term As President of Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival board of administrators has extended the terms of Gilles Jacob, the 81-year-old president of the Cannes film festival, along with its 50-year-old director Thierry Fremaux. Although there were reportedly several big-name positions positioning for the job including French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand, Jacob told AFP, that the festival’s board of administrators voted to extend his mandate as President until 2014 along with that of Fremaux. The Cannes Film Festival is run […]

First Five Films of Perspektive Deutsches Kino Program at 2012 Berlinale

First Five Films of Perspektive Deutsches Kino Program at 2012 Berlinale

In 2012, the Perspektive Deutsches Kino programme at the Berlin International Film Festival will open with Katarina Peters’ documentary Man for a Day. A number of open-minded women attend a workshop given by performance artist and drag king activist Diane Torr. They work on transforming themselves into the man of their choice for a day. Giving up old roles and taking on new ones is hard work, but it is great fun trying to decipher […]

62nd Berlin International Film Festival Unveils Official Poster

62nd Berlin International Film Festival Unveils Official Poster

  The 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, taking place from February 9 to 19, 2012, unveiled its official poster. As of mid January the poster for the Berlinale 2012 will add a bright note to the winter cityscape – first around the Potsdamer Platz and then all over Berlin. The motif on the poster will also appear on many of the Festival’s publications. “The Berlinale Bear is both a trademark and a popular symbol. The […]

Palm Springs International Film Festival to Honor Director Stephen Daldry

Palm Springs International Film Festival to Honor Director Stephen Daldry

The 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present three time Academy Award nominee Stephen Daldry with the Director of the Year Award for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Daldry is an award-winning director of both stage and screen.  His first feature film, Billy Elliot, won more than 40 awards worldwide and received three Oscar® nominations, including Best Director.  His second feature The Hours received nine Oscar® nominations including Best Picture and Director, […]

Palm Springs International Film Festival Unveils New Program highlighting Arab Cinema for 2012

Palm Springs International Film Festival Unveils New Program highlighting Arab Cinema for 2012

The 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival announced a new program highlighting Arab Cinema as well as films selected to compete for the FIPRESCI Award, New Voices/New Visions Award and John Schlesinger Awards.  The Festival will screen 40 of the 63 official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Foreign Language Film. 

ARABIAN NIGHTS: A Showcase of CINEMA FROM THE MIDDLE EAST
This program will premiere 11 new films made in the Middle East.  The showcase reflects the dramatic upsurge of film production and the concurrent emergence of exciting new filmmaking talents across the region.  The films selected in the Arabian Nights program include:

Asma’a (Egypt) – Devout, careworn widow Asma’a has a secret.  She is HIV-positive in a world where the disease is still stigmatized.  Ultimately, the host of a daring TV show inspires Asma’a to speak out and fight back – both against her illness and social ignorance.  Director: Amr Salama.  Cast: Hend Sabry, Maged El Kedwani, Hani Adel, Ahmad Kamal, Sayed Ragab, Botros Ghali.

Cairo 678 (Egypt) – Tackling the issue of sexual harassment, which continues to plague Egyptian society, this social issues drama focuses on three women from different backgrounds.  Director: Mohamed Diab Bushra.  Cast: Nelli Kareem, Nahed El Seba’i, Maged El Kedwany, Bassem Samra.

Habibi (Palestinian Territories/USA, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates) – The first fiction feature set in Gaza in over 15 years offers a story of forbidden love.  Can Qays, a poet from the refugee camp, build a future with Layla, the daughter of a traditional, religious family?  Director: Susan Youssef.  Cast: Kais Nashif, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Yussef Abu-Warda, Amer Khalil.

How Big is Your Love (Algeria/Morocco) – A heartwarming examination of childhood and love in modern Algiers.  With his parents breaking up, 8-year-old Adel is sent to live with his grandparents.  Soon it’s like he’s lived there forever, he’s so intimately wrapped up in their lives.  Director: Fatma Zohra Zamoum.  Cast: Racim Zennadi, Adbelkader Tadjer, Louiza Habani, Loubna Boucheloukh, Zahir Bouzrar, Nadjia Debbahi-Laaraf.

Love in the Medina (Morocco) – In this colorful melodrama, a young man from a conservative Moroccan family infuriates his father when he decides to become a butcher.  Soon he discovers that there is only one thing that he loves more than choice cuts…Women.  Director: Abdelhaï Laraki.  Cast: Omar Lotfi, Ouidad Elma, Driss Rokh, Amal Ayouch.

Man Without a Cell Phone (Palestinian Territories/France, Belgium, Qatar) – An Arab-Israeli village’s new cell-phone tower quickly goes from minor annoyance to symbol of oppression.  In turn, charming slacker Jawdat abandons youthful aimlessness for activism.  Tempering its pointed politics with gentle humour, Sameh Zoabi’s dramedy is an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser.  Director: Sameh Zoabi.  Cast: Razi Shawahdeh, Basem Loulou, Louay Noufi, Ayman Nahas.

On The Edge (Morocco/France, Germany) – In the demimonde of nocturnal Tangier, four street-smart young women struggle to escape their poverty turning tricks and pawning stolen valuables.  The film won Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress at the Taormina Film Festival.  Director: Leila Kilani.  Cast: Soufia Issami, Mouna Bahmad, Nouzha Akel, Sara Betioui.

The Rif Lover (Morocco/France, Belgium) – A bold, visually ravishing tale of women struggling against the bonds of tradition as a beautiful but naïve 20-year-old falls into the clutches of a drug baron.  Director: Narjiss Nejjar.  Cast: Nadia Kounda, Mourade Zeguendi, Nadia Niazi, Omar Lofti, Siham Assif.

Sea Shadow (United Arab Emirates) – Set in a small seaside town in the Emirates, this gentle coming-of-age story follows two teenagers on the road to adulthood.  Bound by tradition and deeply rooted values, Mansoor and his pretty cousin Kaltham must find the courage to forge their own paths.  Director: Nawaf Al-Janahi.  Cast: Omar Al Mulla, Neven Madi, Abrar Al Hamad, Khadeeja Al Taie, Aisha Abdulrahman, Ahmad Iraj.

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (Lebanon) – Beautifully conceived and expertly edited, this playful documentary uses a wealth of clips from Egyptian star Hosni’s films to explore the iconic actress’s screen image and shed light on the Arab world’s most popular cinema.  Director: Rania Stephan.

Transit Cities (Jordan) – A 36-year-old divorcee returns to Amman after 14 years in the U.S., but finds her hometown, family and friends much changed. This affecting drama strikes enough universal notes pertaining to cultural estrangement to resonate with expats of any stripe.  Director: Mohammad Hushki.  Cast: Saba Mubarak, Mohammad Al-Qabbani, Shafika Al Til, Ashraf Farah, Manal Seihmeimat. {jathumbnail off}