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SAFAR Film Festival 2024
Institute of Contemporary Arts
19 - 26 June 2024

“How can bearing witness to a reality enable us to challenge it? Are we allowed to hope beyond it? And can we achieve our dreams individually, or do we need to dream together, collectively, to ensure they come true?”
 - Rabih El-Khoury, festival curator 

The SAFAR Film Festival is the largest festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world. Founded in 2012, SAFAR showcases the broad spectrum of film from the region by working with curators on themed programmes and inviting filmmakers for live Q&As and events.

The 2024 edition brings together over 50 films from 15 countries including new releases, classics, family friendly screenings, archive films and more. This year’s festival theme aims to highlight a multitude of daily realities being faced across the Arab world and reflect on how small hopes and bigger dreams co-exist within such contexts. 

How is it to be barred entry to your home while you watch war unfold through your phone? How is it to fight for independence as a woman within a maze of patriarchal laws?
How does a family adapt when war is looming and an economic crisis is hitting hard?

The filmmakers featured in this year’s edition articulately pose such questions and provide timely and personal insights into everyday battles which often remain unseen.
SAFAR is supported by the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery, the British Council, the Bagri Foundation and the Barjeel Art Foundation.



Wed 19 June, 8.50pm
Beyond Banat + Q&A
In order to overcome their delicate realities, Hasna, Muna, Nayla, Layal and Rim will have to navigate both private spaces and public places. But can they dare to dream of more fulfilling days ahead?

Sat 22 June, 3.30pm
Art For The Struggle, Struggle For The Art + Discussion
The revolutionary period of Palestinian cinema began in 1968 with the founding of the Palestine Film Unit (PFU), dedicated not only to providing visual representation of and political education about the struggle for Palestinian liberation, but to asserting the right of Palestinians to be the subjects of their own representation.

Sat 22 June, 6.15pm
Embodied Chorus + Q&A
A Beirut rooftop conversation about living with Sexually Transmitted Infections opens into a cinematic dialogue, as Danielle’s raw filmed diary and Moe’s vibrant queer memory of living with an STI ignite a collaborative exploration of bodies, intimacy, and shame.

Sat 22 June, 8.30pm
Life is Beautiful + Q&A
The young Palestinian director Mohamed Jabaly is visiting a film festival in Tromsø in 2014, when the borders to Gaza close. He finds himself stuck in the arctic winter. Little does he know that it will be seven years before he can see his family again.

Sun 23 June, 4.30pm
Mandoob + online Q&A
In the heart of Riyadh, where desperation and opportunity collide, Mandoob brings forth the gripping tale of Fahad Algadaani, a mentally fragile man racing against time to save his ailing father.

Sun 23 June, 7pm
Solidarity Cinema: Roundtable Discussion
A roundtable discussion with Palestinian and foreign filmmakers on tactics and best practices for producing selfless and internationalist cinema in genuine solidarity with Palestinians and the Palestinian struggle.

Sun 23 June, 8.45pm
Gulf in Focus: Contrast and Conformity + Q&A
Haunted by the spectres of its pasts, impoverished by scant narration as parched as its landscape, the Gulf holds fantasy, darkness and mysticism close to the crevices of its heart.

Wed 26 June, 8.40pm
Goodbye Julia + online Q&A
Set in Khartoum, just before the secession of South Sudan, a married former singer from the north seeks redemption for causing the death of a southern man by hiring his oblivious wife as her maid.