The Middle East has been in the headlines for decades, but it’s rare that its people get to tell their own stories. New York City’s first-ever Arab Cinema Week, kicking off Nov. 18-24 at Cinema Village, is an opportunity to see works that explore not just the eight countries they span, but stories about our shared humanity.
“New York is a cosmopolitan city, and we want everyone to see these films,” says Perihan AbouZeid, founder and CEO of Movie Pigs, a year-old New York-based on-demand video platform for Arab films, which organized the festival. “We mainly book films that have participated in film festivals and will reach a global audience, not just an Arabic one.”
Among the lineup are high-profile titles like the Jon Stewart-associated “Tickling Giants,” whose subject, Egyptian political humorist Bassem Youssef, will appear after the screening. Also appearing at the festival is Tunisian actor Dhafer L’Abidine (“Children of Men,” “Sex and the City 2”), who will be at the screening of his mother-daughter drama “As I Open My Eyes.”