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Arab World Film festival pays tribute, reflection to Arab Spring, 2010 protests

About one year after the Arab Spring, more than 115 Ohio State students and members of the community gathered for the second Arab World Film Festival.

With a theme of “Resistance and Awakening,” several films were chosen to present a variety of struggles associated with the Arab world.

The Arab Spring, which began in 2010 as a wave of protests against government corruption and a fight for human rights across North Africa and the Middle East, motivated the film selection greatly.

The films chosen for the festival showed modern and historical social and political struggles in the Arab world.

Many controversial topics like homosexuality in Muslim countries, rebellion against conservative parents and the effects of colonialism on the Arab world were presented.

The two-day event included a total of nine films, complete with a buffet-style dinner provided by Shish Kebab Mediterranean Grill.

About $1,500 was spent on obtaining the films for the festival. Some of them were first-run, award-winning documentaries and not for purchase.

“We were surprised at how quickly and willingly our sponsors donated to the event. We had donations not only from OSU departments, but from the community as well,” said Sabra Webber, an associate professor of anthropology. The festival received sponsorship from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Middle East Studies Center, Center for the Study of Religion and many others.

Each film was accompanied with a brief introduction by faculty and students, to provide contextual information, geographical setting and a background of the directors.

About 210 people signed up to attend the event and about 115 actually attended.

“The turnout was great. In terms of advertising for the event, email reaches more people than posters or fliers for OSU. The community outside campus responds better to print. We did both,” said Allen Tuazon, a Ph.D. candidate in Islamic studies and a coordinator for the event.

The festival was free for everyone, but donations were accepted and encouraged.

“It’s a great event, especially for the Arab community at Ohio State since they may not get a lot of opportunities to watch a movie in their language here on campus,” said Maria Potter, a third-year in Arabic.

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