Nine MAD films to feature and compete at the Tripoli Film FestivalAs a Pan-Arab leader in film distribution, MAD Solutions will be featuring nine films of various formats from its distribution repertoire at the upcoming ninth edition of the Tripoli Film Festival (TFF), which is set to take place from September 21st to the 28th at the Azm Cultural Center, Beit El Fan - Mina in Tripoli, Lebanon.
The MAD lineup includes ALAM, NEZOUH, UNDER THE FIG TREES, RAT HOLE, FOR MY COUNTRY, THE ISLAND OF FORGIVENESS, FAR FROM THE NILE, FLESH AND BLOOD, and LIGHT UPON LIGHT, with all films competing in their respective categories for Best Feature, Documentary, and Short.
First up in the lineup is Firas Khoury’s Palestinian-Tunisian drama feature ALAM — which is set to be the festival’s opening film — starring Mahmood Bakri, Sereen Khass, Saleh Bakri, and Mohammad Karaki, and follows the story of a Palestinian teenager named Tamer.
Tamer and his friends lead typical teenage lives until one day, he is swept off his feet by the arrival of the beautiful Maysaa. As he grows closer to her, Tamer agrees to take part in a mysterious and life-changing operation dubbed ‘Alam.’
The film will screen on Thursday, September 21st at 8 pm.
MAD’s second entry for the TFF is Soudade Kaadan’s Syrian drama NEZOUH, which takes place during the Syrian conflict, where a missile destroys the ceiling of the house of 14-year-old Zeina; as a result, she sleeps for the first time under the stars and makes friends with Amer — the boy next door. When the violence escalates, Hala — Zeina's mother — decides to leave. She then gets into an argument with her husband, Motaz, who refuses to become a refugee and tries everything to stop his family from leaving their house.
Written and directed by Soudade Kaadan — who also co-produced it with Yu-Fai Suen — the film stars renowned Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, Samir Al-Masri, Hala Zein, and Nizar Alani.
The film will screen on Saturday, September 23rd at 8 pm.
Third in the lineup is Erige Sehiri’s UNDER THE FIG TREES, which was co-written by Ghalya Lacroix and Peggy Hamann and stars Fide Fdhili, Feten Fdhili, Ameni Fdhili, Samar Sifi, and Abdelhak Mrabti.
Taking place over the course of a day, UNDER THE FIG TREES presents an intergenerational dialogue between a group of teens and older folk as they work the summer harvest, catch feelings, attempt to understand each other, and navigate the complicated terrain of building deeper ties.
The film will screen on Friday, September 22nd at 8 pm.
Coming in fourth place in the lineup is the Egyptian drama feature RAT HOLE, which was written, directed, and produced by Mohamed El-Samman and stars Nogoum FM’s Rana Khattab, Mohamed Yorka, Kamal El-Asnawy and Hanan Helmy.
The film follows Kholod, who, in her desperation to make some extra money, bites off more than she can chew at work and races against time to fulfill an unreasonable quota.
The film will screen on Sunday, September 24th at 8 pm.
Next up is the Algerian-French drama FOR MY COUNTRY, which was directed by Rachid Hami and co-written alongside Ollivier Pourriol. The film stars Karim Leklou, Shaïn Boumedine, Hugo Becker, Lubna Azabal, and Samir Guesmi and tells the story of an Algerian-born young officer named Aissa, who tragically dies during a freshman initiation ritual at the elite French military institution of Saint-Cyr.
Controversy arises over Aissa's funeral plans as his death rips through his family and the army refuses to take responsibility. It falls to Ismael — the older and more rebellious brother — to keep the family together while they seek justice for Aissa.
The film will screen on Saturday, September 23rd at 6 pm.
Next up is Ridha Behi’s Tunisian drama THE ISLAND OF FORGIVENESS — a tumultuous, heart-wrenching drama as witnessed through the eyes of a child named Andrea.
The film will screen on Monday, September 25th at 8 pm.
Then there’s the Egyptian musical documentary FAR FROM THE NILE, which is directed and co-produced by Sherief Elkatsha and brings together twelve musicians from seven countries along the Nile who use music as a model to collaborate across borders. On a tour of the US, their message of unity is put to the test.
The film’s cast brings together musicians from Egypt, Uganda, Eritrea, Sudan, Nubia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Burundi, with prominent names like Mohamed Abozekry, Michael Bazibu, Nader Elshaer, Ibrahim Fanous, Saleeb Fawzy, Asia Madani, Adel Mekha, Kasiva Mutua, Ahmed Omar, Dave Otieno, Steven Sogo, and Selamnesh Zemene.
The film will screen on Saturday, September 23rd at 8 pm.
MAD’s eighth entry for the TFF is the Danish-Egyptian documentary LIGHT UPON LIGHT, wherein one day, an Egyptian friend gave Danish anthropologist Christian Suhr a good piece of advice: "Stop focusing on all the darkness in the world and look at the light instead."
Suhr takes us on a journey to Cairo along the Nile and into the desert to understand what light means to the people he meets along the way, through conversations and observations of breathtaking rituals, the light slowly breaks through and nuances the image of religion often viewed with prejudice and reduced to simplistic clichés.
The documentary stars Aya El-Hosseiny, Sonia Hassan, Maher Al-Sharnouby, and Magda Habshey.
The film will screen on Tuesday, September 26th at 6 pm.
Last but not least is FLESH AND BLOOD — a Tunisian short film written and directed by Inès Arsi that follows Donia, a victim of rape at the hands of her young neighbor, who’s pressured by her family to marry the rapist to cover up the scandal.
However, her life is turned upside down when she discovers she is pregnant. Donia has one goal: To get an abortion before it is too late. In her battle, Donia faces a patriarchal society and a hypocritical system.
The short was produced by Tunisian filmmaker Mehdi Hmili, who is known for his critically acclaimed shorts and feature films, and led by BEAUTY AND THE DOGS actors Noomen Hamda and Mourad Gharsalli, alongside Sana Lahbib, Achref Ben Youssef, and Mariem Ben Hassan.
The film will screen on Wednesday, September 27th as part of Shorts Program 3 at 8 pm.
The TFF is a cinematic event that was conceived to foster tourism in the city by enriching and promoting its local cultural environment and is supported by the SEE Change Program organized by COSV, the European Community, and the Cultural Affairs Department of the US Embassy in Lebanon.