Source: Jordan News
By Israa Radaydeh, last updated: 05/07/2022 – 12:48 AM
An interesting, rich, and diverse program of film awaits those who wish to participate in the third edition of the Amman International Film Festival – Awal Film (AIFF), which will run from July 20–27, complemented by activities dedicated to film professionals attended by filmmakers, actors, international experts, and producers.
Seven Jordanian films will be screened, including two feature films “Daughters of Abdulrahman” by Zaid Abu Hamdan, and “Farha” by Darin J. Sallam. Five short films will also be screened: “Alternative Memory” by Leen Abdo, “Arwa” by Jumana Eldur, “The Mission” by Mohammad Dabbas, “Traversing the Reimagined Palestinian Neighborhood” by Zain Wahbeh, and “L’hiver” by Karam Awadat.
The line-up consists of 52 films from 29 countries, including Arab and international feature-length narratives and documentaries, as well as Arab shorts. The unique selection offers viewers the opportunity to watch movies that might not make it to commercial theatres in Jordan.
The AIFF will host 33 filmmakers this year, from the pool of foreign guests, who will be representing their films and answering questions from the audience.
In parallel to the screening, a series of workshops, panels and three pitching platforms for projects in development and post-production, as well as a market, are organized within the framework of the Amman Film Industry Days (AFID).
There are four categories for first-time directors, actors, screenwriters, and editors to compete, each complemented by the Black Iris trophy and a monetary prize. To be eligible, films must have been released in 2021 or 2022 and be Jordanian premières.
The AFID, the professional arm of the festival, will host master classes, workshops, and three pitching platforms — two for projects in development and one for films in post-production. Juries consist of Arab and international film professionals; they select projects to receive in-kind and cash awards.
Yousry Nasrallah, Egyptian author and acclaimed director, will be the star of “First & Latest” section, which features the work and the cinematic journey of an accomplished, renowned filmmaker.
In this upcoming edition, the AIFF will be hosting the Franco-Arab Film Festival for the second year in a row with the special out-of-competition section called Franco-Arab Rendez-Vous.
It will display four feature-length French films or films co-produced with France, as well as four shorts.
The films to be screened in this section are: “Mariner of the Mountains” by Karim Aïnouz, “Bonne Mère” by Hafsia Herzi, “You Resemble Me” by Dina Amer and “The River” by Ghassan Salhab.
Peace by Chocolate
The opening film is “Peace by Chocolate”, a 2021 film that makes one feel good, warms the heart, and gives faith in a better future.
It is the very first feature film by Jonathan Keijser, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the final film to be starred, by the late Hatem Ali.
Tareq Hadhad (Ayham Abou Ammar) is a Syrian refugee welcomed by the Canadian government in 2016. The young man, who dreams of becoming a doctor, finds himself in the small town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. There, in the midst of just over 4,000 inhabitants, he slowly acclimatizes. Then, his parents Issam (Hatem Ali, since deceased) and Shahnaz (Yara Sabri) come to join him, while waiting for his sister (Najlaa Al Khamri) and his brother-in-law, who will be killed before immigrating, to be able to cross the Atlantic.
Issam, who does not speak English, is idle. He walks through the streets of the small town, pushes the door of a chocolate shop and meets the owner, Kelly (Alika Autran), to whom he clumsily tries to give stuff. It is because the Hadhads were famous chocolate makers in Damascus before the war destroyed their company. The patriarch therefore returns to the kitchen and gives Frank (Mark Camacho), the resident who sponsored the family, a taste of his chocolates.
The sweets are excellent and Frank sees them as a way for the family to earn a living. The community mobilizes, offers the family a place to set up a real small factory and lends them money to start the business. Quickly, Peace by Chocolate will acquire international reputation and becomes a flourishing company.
Peace by Chocolate is oriented, from the beginning, toward comedy; it illustrates in a humorous way the many difficulties of adaptation: winter, employment, language, etc. In addition, with its central themes of mutual aid, solidarity and family, the film unquestionably ticks all the right boxes, and proves to be quite charming entertainment.
The AIFF will have for the third year a drive-in cinema in the Abdali area, as well as the open-air theatre at the Royal Film Commission and TAJ Cinemas. In order to reach a wider audience, the festival will also be organizing screenings across the Kingdom, in Irbid, Aqaba, and Salt.
The Amman Film Market is a new AIFF tool. It will represent a space to connect filmmakers with a large number of funders, partners, and distributors.
There will also be a third pitching platform targeting only Jordanian filmmakers who are developing their first feature-length documentary or narrative project.