TRAVERSE CITY – The Traverse City Film Festival, which runs through Aug. 5, will screen more than 100 new and classic films for movie-goers. Five of them will feature Arab filmmakers or stories featuring Arabs.
Last year the festival had a “Travel ban sidebar” that featured seven films from countries affected by President Trump’s travel ban.
The five films featured this year are “In The Fade” by Fatih Akin, “The Insult” by Ziad Doueiri, “Last Men In Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad, “Salam” by Claire Fowler and “Lifeboat” by Skye Fitzgerald.
“In The Fade” is a fictional narrative about a “German woman who loses her Middle Eastern immigrant husband and young son to a horrific act of White supremacist terrorism,” according to the film’s synopsis.
“The Insult” is a fictional narrative that explores the history of the Lebanese Civil War and the continued conflicts in the region.
“Last Men in Aleppo” is a documentary about the “White Helmets” in Syria. “The White Helmets” are the ones who stay behind, digging through the rubble in hopes of finding survivors after bombs drop on Syria. They aren’t militants or rebel fighters, but civilians who “push politics and religion aside until only humanity remains,” according to the film’s synopsis.
“Salam” is part of a program called “The Future Is Shorts”, featuring five other short films. It follows a woman driving for Lyft in New York City who is waiting to hear life or death news from her family in Syria.
“Lifeboat” is part of another short film program called “Shorts Save America.” The short documentary explores the refugee crisis in the Middle East by taking audiences to the Mediterranean Sea.
The non profit festival first took place in 2005. Every year since then, Founder and President Michael Moore has brought films to northern Michigan audiences.
In a letter to all of the movie-goers, Moore explained the importance of having these films available.
“Together, we bring you this year’s festival in a time where millions find themselves full of anxiety, stress, despair and an uncertain trepidation of what lies ahead,” Moore wrote. “There’s no better time or place than right here, right now, for us to turn to art, to the movies, to find much-needed inspiration, ideas, tears, joy, hope and a way forward.”