Tunisia’s Gabes Cinema Fen film festival has confirmed it will be held June 18-26 this year, bringing cinema, video art and virtual reality to the Mediterranean oasis and aiming to lay cultural foundations that will boost the potential of the region, its youth, and to initiate a project of a lasting activity.
A celebration of culture off the beaten track, the event is meant to be a space for reflection around Arab cinema and the place it occupies on the map, questioning self-representation, as well as the fantasies and visions projected onto our societies.The goal is to forge links and affinities between the festival and the people of Gabes.
There are three competitive sections – Arab fiction feature films, essay films and experimental films; Arab documentary films, and Arab fiction, documentary and experimental short films. The films in competition are exclusively Arab productions, stemming from the festival’s belief that Arab films should first be seen by Arab audiences, given that the circulation of these films is still very limited within the various Arab countries.
The festival will also feature a retrospective of Algerian director and screenwriter Tariq Teguia; a world cinema sidebar; Ciné-terre: Focus on the environment (with its phosphate industries, Gabes is one of the most polluted cities on the African continent); cinema for children; Tunisian short film screenings; Masterclasses and outdoor screenings.
Gabes Cinema Fen also feature at the heat of the festival ‘The Panel’, a discussion on the general theme of identity and representation in Arab cinemas, with this year’s theme titled ‘Recognition and Legitimation’. For three days, stakeholders in the field of cinema and academics will be invited to a common reflection on issues of cinema and their historical, political and philosophical extensions. This year the event will look at the reception of Arab films at the perceived legitimising bodies of the international film festivals and the "almost obsessive quest for recognition that results from it among Arab filmmakers".
There will also be a workshop on critical writing on cinema in Tunisia, which will be co-directed by Dork Zabunyan, Philosopher and Professor of Cinema (for the French and English part), and by Ali Adawi, critic and historian of Cinema (for the Arabic and English part). This workshop will bring together ten participants selected by the mentors from among young journalists, researchers and students who have already written about cinema.
El Kazma is the 'Fen' ("art" in Arabic) part of the Gabes Cinema Fen festival. El Kazma is an annual video art meeting organised by La Boîte, a structure for the support, dissemination and mediation of contemporary art in Tunisia. Under the artistic direction of visual artist Malek Gnaoui, each edition of the festival gives “carte blanche” to a curator, with the 2021 edition to be curated by French artist Laurent Montaron.
Videos are shown in containers on the Corniche de Gabes, as well as in cafes in the city.They are also the subject of work carried out by the students of the HigherInstitute of Arts & Crafts of Gabes, with the assistance of their teacher and artist Mohamed Amine Hamouda.
For all info check out their website here.