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Arabian Tales on Film
Arabian Tales on Film 10 @ V&A
BAFTA Goes to the Arab World 08
Arab Cinema Weekend 07 @ BAFTA
Arab Cinema Weekend 06 @ BAFTA
NFT 04
A Decade of Arab Cinema 04 @ NFT
Zenith’s London Arab Film Festivals have been held at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in London for 3 years, and previously at the National Film Theatre (NFT) in 2004.
The Zenith Film Festival seeks to show a wide spectrum of films that demonstrate the diversity of approaches among filmmakers, rather than a thematic programme. We cannot be comprehensive and so our focus is on films that transcend cultural boundaries and provide aesthetics and narratives that could be appreciated by a worldwide audience.
The Festival offers London audiences a rare opportunity to view films from the Arab region and Diaspora that are not otherwise on general release in the UK. The main Arab film producing countries are Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Iraq. Added to this, there is nascent film production coming from Jordan and the Gulf Region and a great number of Diaspora directors.
We view and select from hundreds of potential films, with a focus on feature films but also including documentaries, shorts and experimental films. Our selection criteria includes whether the films are critically acclaimed, or if we consider that they offer a significant development in the filmmaking practices of a director, country or region. Creative trends that challenge established forms or provide unaired perspectives are featured and encouraged. The nationality or country of origin of the director, and whether the film is in the Arabic language, are also selection factors.
The media interest in our festival, indicating topicality and relevance of the films to a wide audience, together with the reception of the Festival by its growing number of audiences, has encouraged us to continue to hold the Zenith Film Festival year on year.
The Zenith Film Festival attracts around 1,500 people over a weekend period. Media coverage includes BBC 1 London News, AL Jazeera, Al Arabia, and Dubai TV as well as BBC Online and World Service, The Times Newspaper, the Guardian, The New Statesman, and Al Hayat, to name but a few.
Zenith also collaborates with other organisations in relation to their Arab film programmes including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival.
Zenith wanted to extend the life of quality Arab films and music beyond the festival circuits, and give audiences a chance to catch up on titles that are often difficult to find, and so has created the Zenith Shop in 2010. This is providing a continuous public platform for culturally significant works, and giving academic institutions the opportunity to incorporate them within their library offerings and curriculums.

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