The Amman International Film Festival took off with an opening ceremony on Wednesday, July 20, at Al-Hussein Cultural Centre in Ras Al Ain. As the event is taking place between July 20 and 27, talented artists and producers have already lined up and begun the debut of their films.
The Arab-focused film festival has returned to the Middle East for the third time since its initiation in 2020, and this time around, is more grand than its previous editions due to the lifting of several pandemic-related restrictions. Celebrating the art of filmmaking, AIFF 2022 will see the debut of 52 films from 29 countries, ranging from international feature narratives and documentaries to short Arab films. This unique selection was picked after viewing hundreds of submissions, ensuring that only the best will be featured in the Jordan theatres. All the movies being featured have been released between 2021 and 2022, and are competing in four varying categories of the festival.
As some films are being led by first-time directors, the festival is giving passionate artists the opportunity to showcase their work on the big screen. During the program, you can expect to feast your eyes on international favorites including Darin J Sallam’s Farha and Al Hadi Ulad-Mohand’s Life Suits Me Well.
The festival’s launch this Wednesday got more than 100 industry professionals, actors, and producers together in Jordan this week. The event was graced by the presence of a multitude of famous actors and producers including Lebanese actor and writer George Khabbaz, Dhafer L’Abidine from Tunisia, Jordanian actor Saba Mubarak, and Netflix favorite AlRawabi School for Girls‘s Noor Taher, Rakeen Saad, and Lebanese actor Carmen Lebbos. The event was also attended by HH Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, president of the festival, and wife Princess Rym al-Ali.
Another highlight from the festival was the debut of the feature movie Peace by Chocolate. Directed by Canadian filmmaker Jonathan Keijser, the film narrates the story of a Syrian refugee in the midst of a conflict between pursuing his dreams in the medical field, and giving in to his chocolatier father’s expectations to join the family business. The movie also marks late Syrian director and actor, Hatem Ali’s final performance.
The AIFF will be making use of the drive-in cinema in the Abdali area as well as the Open air theatre at the Royal Film to screen its selections. As the festival hopes to expand its viewership and reach wider audiences, it is now also organizing certain film screenings across the Irbid kingdom.