Twelve feature films, 12 short films and 10 documentaries from 14 Arab countries are on the programme of the competition for the Golden Lion Oran Festival of Arab Film (FOFA), to be held from July 22 to 27 .
The opening night is scheduled for the TRO. The programme, some of which have already “leaked”, was gazetted yesterday at the headquarters of the APC Oran, during a press conference hosted by the Commissioner of the festival. “The selection was difficult, because we have viewed over 400 films in all categories,” said Mr. Seddiki while confiding having called for, except the jurisdiction of the committee in charge of selecting films, what was said in the media of the respective countries during screenings in preview.
Theoretically, the selection criteria in fact take into account the novelty and quality of productions. The slogan of this 9th edition concerns the issue of “the Other in the Arab cinema”, a theme that the organisers planned to hold a seminar of six conferences, which will be led by specialists whose names have not yet been released.
This edition coincides with the passage of half a century in the making of the film La Bataille d’Alger (The Battle of Algiers) by Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo and 40 years after the release of Omar Gatlato by Merzak Allouache, a leading film that marked a turning point in history of national cinema. So it’s no coincidence that the official festival poster integrates these two icons.
The FoFA also pays tribute this year to the English playwright William Shakespeare by incorporating into the out-of-competition programme three films on this monument of theatre. A return of favour for the evoked fact that the British had honoured the renowned Algerian writer Ahlam Mosteghanemi. A special tribute will be also returned to the comic trio Bila Houdoud.
The organisers retained the fact that these artists had activated a lot during the black decade. Launched by the late Abbas from the regional station of the Algerian television, this programme has been very successful in the late 1980s. If Mustapha gets out of it rather good, Hamid and Hazim actually have difficulty on the other hand in making ends meet. Considered a new trend in the world, the short film will be honoured with the out of competition programming of 12 Algerian films, an initiative to encourage new talent, because the best of them will be automatically selected for the Annaba Festival.
“The documentary is the closest to the real, we found, probably because of current events experienced in these regions, a certain sadness in the subjects explored, but in return a greater presence of women, its ill- being, its hopes, etc.,” said Mr. Seddiki has to then ensure that outreach will continue with screenings in several places in the city to reach a maximum of movie-lovers.
If some savings were made by reducing the number of guests or even the number of jury members, the same official, who, for the first time made public the festival budget (120 million dinars), assured that the basic tasks of the event were maintained. About the jury members, the choice was focused on the Syrian Mohammad Malas to chair the feature films section, the Algerian Rachid Ben Allel for the short film and, finally, Tunisian Mourad Bencheikh for the documentary. It remains to attract audiences in theaters. But that is another story in a country that has lost its tradition.