Desert One

A reconstruction of the 1979-1981 Iranian hostage crisis, this documentary narrates the details behind a failed rescue mission for the hostages held at the American embassy in Tehran.

The documentary sheds light on the infamous top-secret mission named ‘Eagle Claw’ ordered by the Carter Administration in an attempt to rescue the 52 hostages. Through interviews with former members of the U.S. Delta Force who were part in the operation, the film delves into the traumatic scars caused by the failure of the mission. The film juxtaposes ideas and experiences of both Americans and Iranians who were directly involved in the hostage crisis.

Through this juxtaposition of statements and thoughts the film brings a new understanding of the operation and its intricacies. Captors, rescuers, hostages, and President Carter himself all share their tragic and chilling memories of the event which in a way connects them with that ‘other’ part of the world being either Iran or the U.S.  The film leaves the spectator with hope and possibility for dialogue and a reconciliation with the past. The Farsi-speaking civil servants and ex-hostages – who had a deep connection with Iran before the crisis and had formed families there- express how they dream of the day on which they will be able to return to Iran with their grandchildren.

Directed by two-time Oscar-winner (Harlan County USAAmerican Dream): Barbara Kopple

Tiny Souls

The protagonists of this story are young Marwa, Ayah, and Mahmoud, three siblings living the Syrian Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan in 2012 over the course of 4 years.

Despite the harsh living conditions and a constant gloomy feeling of uncertainty that dominates the lives of the camp residents, the three children bring joy and hope to the screen with their pranks, funny stories, and games. After sharing their terrifying experiences in Syria that led them to flee their hometown, they describe the refugee camp as ‘paradise’. The camp is their playground, where they go to school, where they fall in love and where they, as the older sister Marwa says, dream of taking the plane one day to see the ‘Eiffel Tower’. 

This excellent documentary follows in particular the older sister Marwa, as she develops from a little girl to a teenager. From dealing with the cruel reality of war and death, we see how Marwa assesses her traumatic past but yet optimistic future. She carries both the innocence of a child and the wisdom of a war survivor on her shoulders. 

Directed by Jordanian-Palestinian filmmaker: Dina Naser.

In Mansourah, You Separated Us

In this documentary film, Dorothée takes her father back to his Algerian hometown for the first time in years. The duo embark on a journey through Mansourah; a town  full of history and stories from the the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962).

Current residents and Dorothée’s father reflect on their experiences during the revolutionary war, what it meant to them, and how it changed their lives. The protagonists recount how they were forced to leave their homes along with millions of Algerians by the French Army and resettled in camps, such as in Mansourah, during the war. Back at his hometown, Malek and his daughter uncover the repressed memories that are often forgotten in Algeria and France. The documentary brings into light personal stories of Mansourah residents scarred by war trauma. It most importantly raises question with regards to post-colonialism, cultural trauma, and diaspora. It highlights the importance of revisiting these stories and experiences both for the Algerian and French audience, young and old, because as one of the interviewees asserts: “A culture that does not defend itself is a lost culture.”

 Directed by French-Algerian filmmaker: Dorothée Myriam Kellou

Ibrahim, A Fate to Define

“My father, was a secret member of the Revolutionary Council, a Palestinian militant organisation that was notorious for its intelligence affairs. When I was five years old, my father left for few days in his regular way. He never returned.”

In this documentary film, director Line Al Abed, sets to uncover the secrets behind her father’s disappearance. As the disappearance tore her family apart and left her with many unanswered questions as an adult, Line seeks answers from her mother, her brothers and sisters who are all living in different parts of the world. A painful and intriguing story of a family affected by the absence of the father, the war, and what Line calls an atmosphere of ‘silence’. 

Through interviews with relatives, family, and Ibrahim’s friends, Line aims too understand why her father made his choices and despite his love for his family and children was willing to sacrifice his life for his country, Palestine.

 Directed by Palestinian filmmaker: Lina Al-Abed

The Australian Dream

In this film, we follow AFL legend, Adam Goodes, as a protagonist of a compelling story about identity and race. After speaking up against a racial slur directed towards him by a 13 year old girl during a football match, Adam, a popular AFL player of aboriginal decent, sees his popularity plummeting; from being booed during matches by supporters to being attacked on media outlets, and on social media.

At the heart of the film lies the importance of acknowledging the legacies of racism often neglected or deemed as something of the past. The importance of this story is in its honesty about a legacy of pain carried by indigenous communities all over the world and the film’s universal message against post-racial politics, racial stereotypes, and covert racism. After protesting and speaking up against the abuse, Adam was shunned as being the ‘angry black man’; a description resonating with the reaction towards NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the American national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans. 

Directed by filmmaker: Daniel Gordon

143 Sahara Street

In the middle of the Algerian desert, a so-called no-man’s land near El Ménia District, lives Malika in her roadside coffeehouse. The film is a funny portrait of an elderly woman living off-the-grid with the only family she has left: her cat, Mimi, and her dog, Diana. We follow her daily interactions with travelers who stop to rest and have a cup of tea and choose to have either omelette or cookies from her humble menu. If they’re lucky she also has tuna in stock and a pack of cigarettes. 

What might seem as a lonely and remote place is where Malika listens to her customers’ stories about God, Algeria, love, the economy, and politics. Malika is their secret keeper and the café is her kingdom (after all her name means Queen in Arabic) filled with secrets, stories, and jokes left by those who pass by her. After they leave, Malika pets her cat, listens to the radio, sings or sits on the bench watching the cars passing by.       

Malika chats with the director,Hassen, about how she struggled to build her café and be accepted by the people in the town near by as a woman living alone. As the International Women’s Day approaches, Malika tells him she is going to hold a big celebration with her cat, Mimi. She is proud to be what Hassen calls her: “the gatekeeper of the void”. 

Directed by Algerian filmmaker: Hassen Ferhani

Let's Talk

In this film, Egyptian filmmaker, Marianne Khoury tells a very personal story about her family, her mother, and her uncle: celebrated Egyptian filmmaker, Youssef Chahine.

Over three generations Marianne explores the role of women in her family and has a cinematic conversation with her daughter, Sara. Through interviews with family members she pieces together stories about her past and her relationship with Chahine. The film takes the spectator through an ‘Egyptian Story’ (also a name of one of Chahine’s masterworks) through the eyes of Marianne’s family: the beauty of Alexandria being a melting pot of cultures, Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Armenian communities, as well as the grandiosity of Cairo awaiting those who wish to make it in the film business. 

Using footage from Chahine’s autobiographical film, ‘Alexandria…Why’, Marianne’s take us on a journey through her family’s history and how women in her family, mainly her mother, Iris, shaped her and her uncle.    

Directed by Egyptian filmmaker: Marianne Khoury 


As her conscription date approaches, young Israeli Atalya Ben-Abba, joins a movement of young conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the Israeli army. As a result, Atalya spends 110 days in military prison.

On the dinner table Atalya discusses her decision with her family. While her brother did not serve in the army after receiving the exemption he wished for, Atalya’s parents served, as did her Uncle, who tells her that ”non-violence is for the weak”.

In this brilliant film, Atalya supported by her brother Amitai represent a new wave of young Israelis willing to speak up against the occupation and settlements. We follow Atalya’s brave decision to become an objector but to also change the perspectives of her own family on the occupation. With the help of her brother, who speaks a little bit of Arabic, Atalya spends most of her time helping Palestinians families who are forced out of their home and protesting on the streets of Tel Aviv against the occupation. A powerful story about belonging, identity, the fear of being called a ‘traitor’ by one’s community for rejecting a military solution to conflict.

Directed by American filmmaker: Molly Stuart