Five to watch at the Amman International Film Festival

As the 3rd Awal Film kicks off in the Jordanian capital, we look at MIME favourites and audience pleasers.
Five to watch at the Amman International Film Festival

As their opening statement goes, "Jordan’s first international film festival that showcases Arab and international movies was long overdue. The Jordanian local film industry has begun to show what it can do, with talented directors winning international acclaim through features films in recent years."

The Amman International Film Festival – Awal Film looks to fill the gap, with the past two editions having taken place in a time of worldwide pandemic and this being the first carefree, free to move about time that audiences will experience the festival in its full beauty.

Awal Film will be held in the Abdali Boulevard district of Amman; it hosts amazing facilities, shops, a massive shopping mall, luxurious hotels, a pedestrian area and several restaurants and cafés. Abdali Boulevard, which offers a new modern face of Jordan, is in the city centre with easy access to the rest of the capital.

But a festival is of course, only as good as its film selection and Awal Film has more than enough great gems, both from the MENA region as well as international titles.


This film, by Lebanese auteur Mounia Akl, is a must-watch. It is on everyone of our lists and will continue to be there, time and time again. It just went to the U.S. where it is enjoying a theater run in both NYC and LA, with more cities to come and it has conquered hearts wherever it goes, since its premiere last September in Venice. Read this personal review by our own Nina.


By the Tunisian Mehdi Hmili, this 2021 drama stars the spellbinding Afef Ben Mahmoud as a mother who tries her best to help her son succeed in life. But in a country rife with nepotism and corruption and in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis, her efforts may become her undoing. Read an interview with Ben Mahmoud here.


This is a hybrid documentary by Brazilian Algerian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz, which premiered Out of Competition in Cannes in July of 2021. It is a touching portrayal of a man in search of his roots and told in first person, by the hypnotic voiceover of Aïnouz himself. We also have an exclusive interview with the filmmaker on MIME.


Jordanian filmmaker Zaid Abu Hamdan's first film Bahiya & Mahmoud was the first Arab short film to qualify for an Oscar nomination in 2012. He is a voice to be reckoned with and his cinematic portrayal of a quartet of sisters who are brought together by their father's disappearance is as good as it sounds. Check out our article about the film here.


Maysoon Pachachi's haunting, fascinating film is an ode to the London-based filmmaker's own Iraqi background. And to a country that will never ever be the same again. We interviewed Pachachi and her producer Talal Al-Muhanna for MIME, and you can read the interview here.

For more information about the Amman International Film Festival, check out their website.

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