Next wave of Arab filmmakers storm multiplexes

Across the Arab world, an unprecedented wave of filmmakers is emerging as they make their first feature films.

In recent months, the likes of Palestinian filmmaker Najwa Najjar, Jordan’s Amin Matalqa, the U.A.E.’s Ali F. Mostafa, Arab-American Cherien Dabis, Lebanon’s Chadi Zeneddine and Morocco’s Hicham Ayouch have all completed, or are in the process of completing, their debut efforts.

These young directors, many of whom grew up in the shadows of civil war and political strife in their native countries, are proving to be equally comfortable straddling East and West. That fusion is imbuing their filmmaking aesthetic, an often intriguing mix of Arabic subject matter merged with cultural influences from both Hollywood and Europe.

The Doha Tribeca Film Fest will shine a spotlight on this new generation of Arab filmmakers with a special panel and series of screenings designed to bring them to the public’s attention. Dubbed the New Arab Way, the panel will bring together the likes of Zeneddine, who has inked a development deal with Disney to direct his first Arabic-language feature; Matalqa; and Lebanese helmer Nadine Labaki, whose 2007 debut feature, “Caramel,” is the biggest crossover Arab hit of recent decades, to discuss the challenges of forging their careers. — Ali Jaafar

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