Hollywood Arab Film Festival Spotlights Rarely Seen Films from the Middle East

hollywood arab film festival middle east

The world of film festivals, renowned events like Sundance, Cannes, and Telluride have long dominated the spotlight. However, emerging onto the scene is a relatively new festival that is making a significant impact by showcasing a selection of films rarely seen by audiences. The Hollywood Arab Film Festival is gearing up for its third year, dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse cinema from the Middle East.

One of the standout films featured at the Hollywood Arab Film Festival is “Bye Bye Tiberias,” a project close to the heart of the festival’s director, Maykel Bakhoum. As a nonprofit organization, the festival aims to champion diversity and inclusion within the Hollywood community. Bakhoum emphasized the importance of these values in today’s world, stating, “Diversity and inclusion matter more than ever. We are fortunate to be living in an era where our films can be screened within the industry here.”

Filmmakers from the Middle East have traveled to Los Angeles, the heart of the global film industry, to participate in the festival, hoping to find a receptive audience for their unique perspectives and stories. Tarek El Ganainy expressed the significance of having a voice in Hollywood, stating, “It’s very important for us to be around here. Hollywood, at the end of the day, is the capital of the cinema world. So having a voice here and having some sort of representation is something that we’re always looking for.”

While being selected for a film festival is a significant accomplishment, the real challenge lies in securing distribution for these films. Mohamed Hefzy highlighted the importance of finding distribution channels, as festivals serve as a gateway to reach wider audiences. Without proper distribution, these films may remain confined to a niche market. The Hollywood Arab Film Festival aims to bridge this gap by providing a platform that not only showcases these films but also facilitates connections with distributors.

One of the festival’s core objectives is to offer moviegoers a rare opportunity to experience Arab films on the big screen. Maykel Bakhoum shared his motivation for starting the festival, stating, “We didn’t get a chance to see Arab films screened on a big screen. Our goal was to show people our story, to tell them who we are.”

The Hollywood Arab Film Festival is scheduled to run from April 17 to 21, with all screenings taking place at Look Cinemas in Glendale. This vibrant event serves as a vital platform for Arab filmmakers to share their stories, visions, and cultural perspectives with a wider audience. By fostering inclusivity and cultural representation, the festival aims to break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create meaningful connections between filmmakers and enthusiastic moviegoers yearning to explore new cinematic horizons.



Raven Ruma is a professional journalist with a keen eye on domestic and foreign situations. His favorite pastime is to keep the public informed about the current situation through his pen and he is fulfilling this responsibility through the platform of Arab News.

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