Arab Film Festival Bassem Nabil Hafez CAAC’s Board Member smiling during a speech Arab Film Festival premiere. PHOTO: ALBERT WOO

Arab Film Nights Festival celebrated its 10th Anniversary from Oct. 7 to 9. On the first night, Globe Cinema screened two Arab films which dismantled refugee stereotypes.

The festival was hosted by Calgary Arab Arts and Culture Society.

“It is a very unique opportunity to say thank you to our volunteers and our partners, over the past ten years together we have been growing a lot,” said Bassem Nabil Hafez, a society board member.

In the opening of the annual celebration the films, Uncivilized and Peace by Chocolate highlighted refugee stories and worked to break down societal stereotypes. 

 Rawd Almasoud posing on the red Carpet at the Arab Film Festival Premiere with her colleague. PHOTO: MIRANDAH SHERENI

At the premiere, , Chawuko Enakadia, producer of Uncivilized, described the film as a project that tells the story of four immigrants from Syria who continue to contribute to the Canadian economy through their work, as demonstrated in the film. 

“We created the project for people to see and analyze for themselves and ask the question –– Who is really uncivilized?” says Enakadia. 

Peace by Chocolate is a film based on a true story about a family who fled the Syrian civil war moving to Canada. They owned a chocolate shop back in Sryia which was bombed, but when they moved to Nova Scotia, they rebuilt it. The family built a new chocolate shop, Peace by Chocolate Artisanal Chocolate Shop.

“It is an eye opener to see what the international cinema has to offer, so it’s really nice…” said Rawd Almasoud.  

Uncivilized is Syrian filmmaker Almasoud’s first film. Almasoud encouraged people to go to the Arab Film Night Festival to witness stories that discuss equality, refugees and success stories.

Next year’s festival is already slated for Oct. 20 to 22, 2023.

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