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Doc Edge 2012 lifts veil on Arab spring

In late 2010, a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurred throughout the Arab world – from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya to Yemen. Civil uprisings forced the rulers of these four countries out of power, while protests took place in Bahrain, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Lebanon, Sudan… the list goes on. The western world saw the power of protest as the ‘Arab Spring’ took place .The Doc Edge Festival 2012 pays tribute to these earth-moving moments in recent history and the emerging voices of the Arab world.

On January 25th 2011, Egyptians woke up not expecting that a public holiday would turn into a revolution overthrowing Egypt’s political regime. Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad and the Politician chronicles the lives of the protesters, the police forces and profiles Hosni Mubarak by several political figures. Mixing interviews with footage from the demonstrations, Tahrir 2011 playfully debunks the misconceptions and stereotypes that have risen from this important day in Egypt’s history. Tahrir 2011 is an unprecedented, valuable and unexpected insight into the Arab World.

Director Amal Ramsis’ starting point for her documentary is a simple sentence with heavy hitting implications; what isn’t forbidden in Egypt? One of the most insightful documentaries since the January 25th revolution, Forbidden reveals through discussions with Ramsis’ friends how difficult and even absurd life is for ordinary citizens under Mubarak’s regime. Rules govern filming on the street, where to walk, who to mix with, where you can go and what you can buy – and if you are a woman, this is even more burdensome.

When Nefise Özkal Lorentzen was little, she used to send letters to Allah by balloon. Now she wants to send A Balloon for Allah to change the role of women in the Muslim culture. A Balloon for Allah shifts between documenting her journey to rediscover the Islam of her mother’s mother to charting the dreams Nefise holds.

In The Last Days of Winter, director Mehrdad Oskouei follows the lives of seven teenage boys; inmates in a children’s correctional unit. Set in the last few days of winter ahead of the Iranian New Year, Oskouei gains their trust and confidence. As the boys share their thoughts to the camera – including what brought them to the facility, their hopes and fears – viewers see they are no different from other children.

Original and creative, disturbing and heart-wrenching, Malaki – Scent of an Angel sheds light on the trauma of six different families affected by Lebanon’s long and bloody civil war. Each family doesn’t know the fate of their abducted family member or whether he or she is dead or alive.

Teta, Alf Marra (Grandmother, A Thousand Times) is a cinematic love letter to Teta Fatima, a feisty Beiruti grandmother. Forced to cope with the silence of her once buzzing household, she imagines what awaits her beyond this life. Director Mahmoud Kaabour’s documentary commemorates his grandmother’s many worlds before they are erased by the passage of time and death. Screening with Arabic Fusion: The Sound Between the Notes, a musical exploration of contemporary Arabic music.

The Doc Edge Festival runs from the 26th April – 13th May in Auckland and 17th May – 3rd June in Wellington.

For more information on screenings, bookings and other events, visit the website.

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