Algiers Film Festival kicks off for its fifth year

Far from Men opens the festival, Us, Outside features in the programme

Events and Festivals, Algeria

Algiers Film Festival kicks off for its fifth year

Ministre of culture Nadia Labidi launched the 5th annual Algiers Film Festival (in French, Journées cinématographiques d’Alger or JCA) last Saturday evening. The festival, held in Algiers' El Mouggar cinema, took place from November 8 to 12, El Moujahid reports.

The festival has been able to continue into its fifth year thanks to the support of A Nous les Ecrans, an association dedicated to cinema headed by Salim Aggar. At the opening ceremony, Aggar stated that the festival's scope would grow in line with the expectations of Algerian film lovers.

“We have organised this year’s festival in El Mouggar cinema, and not in the Cinémathèque Algérienne as a response to the technical and aesthetic expectations of a sophisticated viewing public,” Aggar explained. "Projections will be digital and on blue-ray

Ministre of culture Nadia Labidi highlighted in her opening speech how the festival has been, and continues to be, an opportunity for the next generation of Algerian filmmakers to demonstrate their skills: “Many filmmakers took their first steps into the world of film thanks to the festival. They have gone on to become important figures in the industry, with many films to their name. We are proud of this initiative because it follows young filmmakers in their cinematic projects, encouraging them to claim a space for themselves in the world of film."

French film Far from Men (Loin des hommes) made its public debut at the opening ceremony. The film's director, David Oelhoffen, its star, franco-algerian actor Réda Kateb, and its producer Marc du Pontavice were among those present at the screening. Far from Men film is an adaptation of a Camus short story, The Guest, and brings to the big screen two men's experiences of the violent start to the Algerian revolution in 1954. The protagonists -- one French, the other Algerian -- could hardly be more different. And yet, from their home in a valley in Algeria's southern region, they confront the conflict together.

The festival continued until November 12, with 30 films screened in total. These included three feature films, nine documentaries and 18 short films, from France, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, Canada, the UK, Turkey and Bahrain, L’Expression reports. It gave pride of place to domestic productions, with 16 Algerian films (eight of which co-productions) screened during the festival. The majority of these were short films.

Films of note included the documentary Us, Outside (Nous, Dehors), made by Algerian filmmakers Bahia Bencheikh Lefgoun and Meriem Bouakaz as part of the DOCmed programme for 2011. It was shown on 10 November.

To see the full programme, please see here.


Sources: El MoujahidL’Expression

Translation: Simon Pickstone

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