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Founded and run by the Arab British Centre since 2012.

The SAFAR Film Festival is the largest festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world. SAFAR offers a unique space for audiences to explore and celebrate the diversity of Arab cinema past, present, and future.

SAFAR showcases the broad range of talent from the region by working with curators on themed programmes and inviting filmmakers for live Q&As. SAFAR develops the UK film landscape through industry events and opportunities for early-career Arab British filmmakers. SAFAR aims to increase access to Arab cinema in the UK by working with screening partners across the country, as well as digital programmes.

SAFAR: A Journey Through Space and Time

From 29 June – 9 July 2023 in cinemas across the UK

For its eighth edition, SAFAR is embarking on a journey through space and time in Arab cinema, mapping the region across a new axis and showcasing films which traverse territories and historical periods.

The programme, curated by Rabih El-Khoury, hones in on films with distinct locations and settings rarely seen on screen. Several filmmakers venture into uncharted geographies to bring their tales to life, while others spin fresh perspectives on the domestic and the familiar. Some revisit the past to better understand their present, using archive, oral history, pop culture and period costume to uncover forgotten or unheard stories.

Documentaries and fictions transport the public through time to Cairo, Damascus and Beirut: as they were filmed in the 80’s and 90’s by revered filmmakers Youssef Chahine, Borhane Alaouié and Mohamed Malas, and as they are filmed today through new lenses.

A focus on contemporary Moroccan filmmaking presents a cinema not shying away from exploring queerness, classism and segregation, and a special programme of screenings and talks with Palestinian filmmakers and artists commemorates 75 years since the Nakba.

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