Cultural Perspectives were thrilled to be invited to the official opening of the 2017 Arabic Film Festival last night at Parramatta’s spectacular Riverside Theatre for the Australian Premier of “MAHBAS”.
Presented by Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) in partnership with the Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CARR), the evening began with a pre-screening celebration in the courtyard of the Theatre and the opportunity to hear from representatives from CARR, ICE and the Arab Film Festival Australia (AFFA).
As the recently appointed ICE Chair, Mr Pino Migliorino spoke about the wonderful opportunities that this festival provides for all Australian audiences through the power of storytelling and congratulated AFFA wholeheartedly for their passion and drive in promoting the Arab experience on Australian screens.
What better way to foster understanding and bring people together than through film and the arts.
Post ‘refreshments’ (which should really have been called a feast), we entered the theatre to be welcomed by Arab Film Festival Co-Director Fadia Abboud who said that the event serves as an important platform for films that share the unique and often untold stories about the experiences of Arab people today.
The festival “strives to bring powerful and contemporary Arab stories” to contemporary Australian audiences.
With the dimming of the lights, the 700 guests were privileged to watch the first ever screening of romantic comedy “MAHBAS”.
MAHBAS told the story about a young Lebanese woman bringing her Syrian fiancée to meet her parents, who still harbour strong unresolved feelings towards Syrians since the Lebanese-Syrian war. The film goes to show that love really can transcend both race and culture.
It would not be a true opening night without a little party… particularly when the Bearded Bakers from the Knafeh Bakery had set up their repurposed shipping container right in the courtyard and were entertaining the crowds with their singing, dancing and incredible knafeh!
To see the grand opening of the festival, please visit http://arabfilmfestival.com.au/2017/08/sydney-opening-night-photos/
To see the rest of the movies in theatre, please go to http://arabfilmfestival.com.au/films/