First Published: 2009-09-01

Banned Syrian film to represent Damascus at Mideast film fest

Syrian 'Long Night' to compete at Abu Dhabi's Middle East International Film Festival.


Middle East Online

Hatem Ali's film focuses on plight of Syrian dissidents

ABU DHABI - A Syrian film banned from being screened in the country was chosen to compete with other feature films at Abu Dhabi's Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF), sources said.

'Long Night', a film focusing on the plight of Syrian dissidents by director Hatem Ali, will be the only Syrian film competing for MEIFF's feature films' category.

The film's participation is expected to be announced soon along with the rest of MEIFF's programme.

'Long Nights' had previously participated in the Taormina International Film Festival in Sicily last June and won the 'Golden Bull' top prize.

However, its director chose not to receive the prize and returned to Syria before the end of the Festival, in a sign of protest at the presence of an Israeli director at the award's judging panel.

Also in June, the Ali's film had won a special mention at the Arab Film Festival in Rotterdam.

The film was not screened in Syria because of the thorny issue of the treatment of political prisoners in the country that it deals with.

But Ali dismissed the significance of the ban in Syria, saying that the film will reach audiences via various other means, noting that he did not take the threat of censorship into account when making the film.

The film will be screened during Abu Dhabi's ten-day festival which will commence on the 8th of October 2009.

MEIFF is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).


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