The Children of Ibdaa:
To Create Something Out of Nothing
Go Back

New California Media Review

Arab Film Festival in Bay Area Theaters
New California Media, Jalal Ghazi, Nov 07, 2002

The annual Arab Film Festival this year includes "Children of Ibdaa", a film by a local Bay Area student. The film captures the spirit of a group of Palestinian children who use singing and dancing to express their struggle for peace in the West Bank.

Smith Patrick made the film as part of her master's thesis project at San Francisco State University. She accompanied the children while they were touring the U.S., and also lived with them in Dheishen in the West Bank.

The Arab American Cultural Centers in San Francisco and San Jose in cooperation with the Arab Woman Solidarity Association are sponsoring the Sixth Arab Film Festival which will take place in a number of theaters in San Francisco, November 1-3 & 12; Berkeley, November 7-9, and San Jose, November 9-11. In San Francisco, the Castro Theatre, Yerba Buena Arts, and Roxie Cinema are participating.

The Arab Film Festival is funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Jose Arts Commission, Arts Council Silicon Valley, National endowment for the Arts, and the California Arts Council.

The Arab Film Festival offers a valuable opportunity to watch movies that aren't seen in mainstream theaters. The selection of movies is designed to expose Americans to a variety of Arab issues and ways of life. Movies are selected from a number of Arab countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Sudan, Iraq and Jordan.

Among other movies showing are the Palestinian movie, "Rana's Wedding" which illustrates the problems that Arab woman encounter when they want to marry men not approved by their parents; "Hanan Ashrawi: a Woman of Her Time", about the 47-year-old mother of two who became a prominent and leading figure after Oslo. Dr. Ashrawi was educated in the West, with a doctorate in medieval literature from the University of Virginia; and "A girls Secret", an Egyptian movie, which shows the struggles to balance tradition and modernity in urban society.

The Arab Film Festival has monthly screenings, the next at Yerba Buena Arts and The Castro Theatre. More information about the festival and the monthly shows can be viewed at, or you may call (415) 564-1100.