Three Arab films make the Locarno Film Festival 2020 selection

This year, the festival brings together 43 films from 34 countries, including Palestine, Tunisia and Somalia

'Bethlehem 2001' by Ibrahim Handal is among three Arab films selected at this year's special Locarno Film Festival. Facebook
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Three films from the Arab world have been selected for a special instalment of this year's Locarno Film Festival, one of the longest-running festivals in Switzerland.

Titled For the Future of Films, the event will take place both online and in theatres from August 5 to 15.

Ibrahim Handal's Bethlehem 2001 from Palestine, Rim Nakhli's Nour from Tunisia and Mo Harawe's Life on the Horn from Somalia are among the 43 films selected from 34 countries.

This isn't the directorial debut of any of the three filmmakers. Handal helmed the 2018 short Him & I, and was director of photography on the 2018 award-winning short Ambience, which was officially selected at the Cinefondation at Cannes and won third place.

A still from 'Nour' by Rim Nakhli. Rim Nakhli
A still from 'Nour' by Rim Nakhli. Rim Nakhli

Nakhli is known for her first short Escape (originally Evasion) or Ranim, and Harawe has directed two shorts: 1947 (2020) and The Story of the Polar Bear that Wanted to Go to Africa (2018).

The three films are running for the Pardi di domani award in the international competition.

"We are very pleased to present a global panorama of emerging filmmakers covering a rich selection of genres, subject matter, aesthetics and point of view," festival organisers said in a statement.

"In this special year, as we all adapt in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope viewers around the world will be as moved and impressed by these films as we have been."

The festival was founded in 1946, and screens films in various competitive and non-competitive sections, including feature-length narrative and documentary, short, avant-­garde and retrospective. It has also traditionally hosted one of the world’s largest open-air screening venues, The Piazza Grande, seating 8,000 spectators. That event is likely to be very different this year, however.

Last year there were six regional films selected for the festival: you can read about those here.