The show must go on. That appeared to be the mantra for the 29th edition of the Carthage Film Festival (Les Journées cinématographiques de Carthage, or JCC). The event kicked off in Tunis’s Municipal Theater over the weekend despite a suicide bomb attack that occurred in the center of the capital just days before, worrying movie buffs that this year’s event would be postponed, or worse, canceled. “We wanted to show that Tunisia continues to live,” Prime Minister Youssef Chahed told AFP at Saturday’s opening ceremony, which was attended by a slew of Arab actors, singers, and directors. “Tunisia combats terrorism through security measures, and also through culture,” he added.
Among the guests present at the ceremony was Tunisian model and actress Julia Chaouachi, who hit the red carpet in an embroidered crimson ballgown by homegrown designer Youssef Berrehouma. Local songbird Asma Othmani was also present at the opening day of the week-long cinematic event, posing for photographers in a black, structural dress, which she paired with equally vampy lips. Actresses Samira Magroun, Najlaa, and Racha ben Mouawya all had a shining red carpet moment wearing sequin-encrusted designs. Saint Augustin actor Aïcha Ben Ahmed, French-Tunisian director Nejib Belhassen, and Egyptian actress Laila Eloui were also in attendance.
Established in 1966 by the Tunisian Minister of Culture, Chedli Klibi, the Carthage Film Festival is the longest-running cinematic event of its kind in Africa. Serving as a platform dedicated to Arabic and sub-Saharan cinema, the program for the week-long festival includes a feature film competition section, short film and documentary contests, and “Projects Workshop”, a platform designed to encourage the promotion and development of projects carried by African and Arab filmmakers. Headed by Najib Ayyad, this year’s edition of the festival will bring together 206 films from 47 Arab and international countries, including those from Morocco, Iraq, Kenya, and Brazil.
Additionally, Tunisian authorities on Sunday will allow approximately 500 prison inmates to watch films screened as part of the film festival. According to the North African country’s general directorate for prisons and reeducation spokesman, Sufiyan Mazghish, “the deprivation of liberty doesn’t mean prisoners should lose all their cultural rights”.
Peruse the slides in the gallery above for some snaps from the opening night ceremony of the 2018 Carthage Film Festival.
The Carthage Film Festival is taking place from November 3-8 in Tunis.