On Arab Geographies

Image Nation and Cinema Akil are proud to present for the first time in Abu Dhabi “On Arab Geographies,” a film program dedicated to showcasing a selection of films from across the Arab world and beyond. The program aims to showcase a powerful and broad spectrum of critically-acclaimed contemporary Arab films around the notion of geography. The On Arab Geographies program of screenings and talks will be held in Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi from 4 till 6 May, 2017.

The program is curated by Rabih El Khoury, who is currently the Program Manager of Talents Beirut, a Programmer at ALFILM the Arab Film Festival in Berlin and a member of the administrative board of the Metropolis Association.



An artist wanders endlessly in the streets of his decaying city, Cairo, hoping to give his life a new meaning again.
A young Tunisian must face the unknown upon moving to Canada, a country with a radically different set of rules and beliefs than hers.
A filmmaker seeks to retrace the origins of her 500-year-old family tree starting from the moment they were forced to flee their native Armenia until settling in Lebanon.
Three siblings find themselves reconnecting with their original roots upon traveling from Germany to bury their mother in the heights of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mapping an Arab geography.
Confined spaces complement others leading to greater unknowns…
Insecure trajectories collide with contentious borders…
Scarce are the spaces to ponder without restraint…
Some are forced to leave their presents…
Others begin to seek possible futures…

Obvious is the inclination to consider the Arab World through the lens of geographical mapping and physical borders.
But geography is not just about movement. It’s also about very personal battles that start within one’s own self against a set of prevailing asperities.
This program aims to be a travelogue throughout the Arab World and beyond. A journey that is not only shaped by mobility and movement within a set of geographical entities, but also one that is led by internal wanderings and  individual efforts to embrace the refuge of hope.

–Rabih El Khoury


Thursday May 4th
7:00 PM – Opening
7:30 PM – IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY by Tamer El Said

Friday May 5th
2:00 PM – Exhibition Tours: The Creative Act: Performance• Process • Presence
4:00 PM – Panel: The Role of Arab Film Funds in Encouraging Arab Cinematic  Production
5:30 PM – NYERKUK by Mohamed Kordofani (followed by Q&A)
6:00 PM – NEARBY SKY by Nujoom Al Ghanem (followed by Q&A)
8:00 PM – OMNIA by Amna Al Nowais (followed by Q&A)
8:20 PM – GEOGRAPHIES by Chaghig Arzoumanian (followed by Q&A)

Saturday May 6th
2:00 PM – Exhibition Tours: The Creative Act: Performance• Process • Presence
4:00 PM – Panel: Portraying Geographies in Film
5:30 PM – MARE NOSTRUM by Anas Khalaf & Rana Kazkaz
5:45 PM – ZEINAB HATES THE SNOW by Kaouther bin Hania
7:30 PM – HOUSE WITHOUT ROOF by Soleen Yusuf


Date: 05.05.2017
Time: 4:00 PM

PANEL 1: The Role of Arab Film Funds in Encouraging Arab Cinematic Production
Cinema started  becoming an investment opportunity in the Arab world and internationally in the late 1950’s. Countries like Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Algeria, followed by Tunisia and Morocco started funding aimed at producing films for local filmmakers and in some rare instances filmmakers from other Arab countries. However, transnational funding is relatively a new phenomenon. In this panel, we discuss the role of such funding and its future in the Arab world.


  • Tamer El Said
  • Nujoom Al Ghanem
  • Mohannad Al Bakri
  • Moderated by: Intishal Al Timimi

Date: 06.05.2017
Time: 4:00 PM

PANEL 2: Portraying Geographies in Film
Within this film program, a panel discussion hosting the participating filmmakers will address the portrayal of geographies in Arab films.
How do filmmakers depict ever changing Arab cities when these cities are undergoing massive events that can alter the scope of an original script? How do their film crews adapt when preparing such shootings that could be directly affected?  And on a wider scope, how do filmmakers conceive their shootings when their films take place in  more than just one country? What are the challenges they face when preparing a shoot with different geographical identities?


  • Chaghig Arzoumanian
  • Mohammad Kordofani
  • Moderated by: Rabih El Khoury

Presented by Image Nation Abu Dhabi

Additional details

Our curator
Rabih El Khoury

Rabih El-Khoury has been working with the Metropolis Association, which manages Metropolis Art Cinema, the only art house cinema in Lebanon, since its inception in 2006, starting as an administrator and becoming the cinema’s Managing Director. He has also worked for the cultural association Beirut DC for the promotion of Arab Cinema, as Visibility Coordinator for its EU-funded project Med-Screen and as General Coordinator for its Arab film festival, The Cinema Days of Beirut, since 2006.

Rabih has organized and programed over 15 Arab film weeks in the Arab world and Europe. Rabih El-Khoury is currently the Program Manager of Talents Beirut and is a member of the administrative board of the Metropolis Association. He is the Programmer for The Cinema Days of Beirut and Alfilm, the Arab Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. He was born in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon. He holds a BA in Journalism from the Lebanese American University in Beirut and has a Masters degree in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmiths University in London.