The first International Muslim Film Festival in Australia will be held in September screening short fiction films and documentaries.
Festival Director, Dr Joanne McKeown says, “We are very excited about this event, it’s just around the corner. We’ve put together a very high calibre of films from around the world, which will be showcased to audiences in Perth and Melbourne.”
The festival is organized by Badayel House, director Tarek Chamkhi and his partner Joanne McKeown who are both based in Perth.
Tarek says, “This is the first time I have done something like this, and it has been an up hill battle, finding funding and sponsorship, however, we are proud to bring this festival to Australian audiences, and confident that it will be well received.”
The festival has had support from the Office of Multicultural Interests in Western Australia. It has also received support from Perth Lighthouse Inc and Islamic Co-operative Finance Australia Limited (ICFAL) and the Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations (FAIR).
The festival aims to raise awareness about various Islamic issues and topics such as Islamophobia, the hijab, attitudes towards women and Muslim culture and various international political issues. There are over 35 films on show, produced after 2017, in the two categories of Documentary and Fiction.
There are a number of highly commended films including a beautiful parable by Indian film maker Ashish Pandey called ‘Nooreh’ which addresses the very topical issue of the Kashmir conflict in a subtle and poetic way.
Then there is the confronting film of ‘Raheel’ by Iranian film maker Ayat Asad Rahbar. A disturbing film about an Afghan woman’s journey to find her husband who is working in Iran, only to find that he does not want her there, her hopes are only in the kindness of a stranger.
Australian films include ‘Found’ by Kauthar Abdulalim, which directly addresses Islamophobia after the 9/11 attacks and ‘Gift’ which takes a different view on Islamophobia, both creative in their twists.
There are many more short fiction films and short documentaries to enjoy at the 2019 Muslim Film Festival. The screenings will be held at the Backlot Studio in Perth (Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September 2019) and Melbourne (Saturday 14 September 2019).