Last year, Gabes Cinema Fen suddenly suspended its physical screenings and events due to the escalating Covid crisis in the country of Tunisia. This year, they are ready for a whole new edition of the young festival which takes place each year in the eastern, sea facing Tunisian city, one which is facing environmental, economic and cultural challenges.
Gabès is famous for its traditional Souqs in Jarah and for its attractive beach and the unusual seaside oasis. The Tunisian government is trying to build it up as an alternative to Djerba, a seaside resort, which is of course, helped by the festival's exposure.
At Gabes Cinema Fen this year, they will offer a rich programme centered on the world of cinema and aesthetic journeys that go against the grain. One such category includes their virtual reality programme which is a bridge between discovery, dreams and imagination that links film, image, sound and modern technology. In the fourth session, the festival will screen 9 films from 4 continents as well as 7 Grams by Karim Ben Khelifa, while continuing their virtual reality "hackathon" project with students from the Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Métiers.
Contemporary artistic expressions are present in the video art section. This year, it will take place under the direction of the Lebanese theater artist and visual artist Rabih Mroué. Through this event, Gabes will question "Life without images" with 11 visual artists from 8 countries who will participate in the video art programme with 13 works -- inviting reflections on Muslim women and issues of self.
Under the direction of Tunisian curator Kenza Jammeli, the second edition of "K OFF" continues, to support emerging Tunisian artists. On the programme of the video art section, a Master Class on music video techniques and a musical performance "Satour-N" by Nuri and Al Issaouia, an immersion in Sufi chants mix with the energy and enthusiasm of electronic rhythms.
In terms of setting and interaction with the public, Gabes Cinema Fen will open the doors to the city's collective memory by organizing an exhibition on the history of football in the region. The adventure has a nostalgic side and will be hosted by the space L'Agora, which presents the archives of Gabsians (those hailing from Gabes); players, footballers and supporters who support the team and memorize their feelings in the form of photos, songs, texts.
The official competition at this year's festival revolves entirely around Arab cinema: feature films and short films, documentaries and experimental works. It is a choice that defends auteur cinema and supports the different genres and aesthetic visions of Arab filmmakers. In parallel, there will be special screenings of Hala Abdallah's film about her relationship with director Omar Amiralay and Ghodwa by Dhafer L'Abidine.
Two films by the pioneers of Arab cinema, Youssef Chahine's The Land and Salah Abu Seif's The Beginning will be screened at the new 'Taala Chouf' event. Chosen by Tunisian superstar Hend Sabri, who the honorary president of Gabes Cinema Fen, they will be screened to students at the Faculty of Science in Gabès in the presence of Sabri herself.
In its fourth edition, Gabes Cinema Fen has consolidated its challenges with a programme of films from all over the world, works on our Earth and its urgent issues, promising films, films for children and a retrospective of the Lebanese director Ghassan Salhab (The Valley, The River).
For more information and to access the full programme, check out the Gabes Cinema Fen website.