Will Jordan be the Arab world’s next hit movie hub?

Last week, Jordan hosted a film festival that displayed the artistic and collaborative efforts of France and the Arab world.

For many years, Jordan has been working tirelessly to promote and expand its film industry. Recently, the kingdom has become a major filming destination for many internationally renowned movies, and encouraging aspiring Jordanian filmmakers to develop their own projects.

Early this year, the coming-of-age drama “Theeb” made history after it became the first Jordanian film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Over $183 million has been spent in the country on film production between 2007 and 2015, according to the Jordan Times. With its ongoing projects and collaborations, the country’s contribution to the film industry appears to not be slowing down anytime soon.

The Franco Arab film festival, first held in 1994, aims to promote the cultural and artistic exchanges between France and the Arab world, as well as provide a space for filmmakers from the region to express their future plans. The festival brings together more than 3,000 spectators each year.

This year’s festival featured a selection of 12 feature films of Franco-Arab production, revealing the diversity and richness of contemporary cinema. Fiction and documentary films were screened from Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunis, Algeria, and France. The festival also included the 10th Jordanian short film competition, reflecting the festival’s drive to work with young local filmmakers. It also featured short movies highlighting stories and aspirations of Syrian children in cooperation with UNICEF.

The series produced by UNICEF, “In their Own Words,” sheds light on the impact of Syria’s five-year war on children, particularly on their education. Consisting of short films, the series highlights the aspirations of Syrian children, some still in Syria and others who have fled. UNICEF hopes that the screenings will help the unheard voices of children reach the world.

“Cinema remains an extremely important component of French culture that tries its best to defend the idea of cultural diversity. And because France defends this idea, it supports and co-produces numerous film projects with other countries and notably with Arab countries,” Maylis Petit de Bantel, Communication Officer at the Institut Français, said.

“The Festival has truly been able to grow and to strengthen the links between France and Jordan in the field of cinema and audiovisual cooperation.” De Bantel added.


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