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SWANA Film Festival

April 28, 2023 - April 30, 2023

The first-ever SWANA Film Festival, presented by Arts & Cultural Exchange (ACE) Parramatta, is a three day festival of Southwest Asian and North African cinema screening at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta across the weekend.

The festival will screen 20 unique films across the program, from Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Armenia, and Syria. These include two LGBTQIA+ films and represent more than five languages.

Australian premieres include opening night film Baghdad in My Shadow by Swiss-Iraqi filmmaker Samir (Iraqi Odyssey) and Love, Spells and All That, from Turkey, by Ümit Ünal.

There line-up also includes all-Australian-made SWANA short films, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers;  a selection ofshorts from Syria to Morocco; Eliane Raheb’s Miguel’s War, and a closing night that includes shorts spanning Iraq, Egypt, the Emirates and Syria, and a coming-of-age comedy-romance-tragedy feature from Egypt, Ayten Amin’s Souad.

Audiences can grab an “all-access pass” for $80, which includes entry to Sobhiya morning feast (SWANA brunch) and screenings at ACE from Melbourne-based artist Sammaneh Pourshafighi, and Andari’s Stove intimate exploration of life in a rural village in Mount Lebanon, followed by a panel discussion featuring Refugee Art Project.

Arts & Cultural Exchange has a strong history of supporting community-led events and festivals, having hosted Arab Film Festival Australia (AFFA) from 2001 to 2018.  AFFA showcased Arab cinema from the region and diaspora to western Sydney audiences, and in 2023, ACE continues its support of such events through SWANA Film Festival – bringing the next generation of filmmakers, curators and storytellers to the community.

SWANA Film Festival is a project of Arts & Cultural Exchange (ACE), supported by Screen NSW, City of Parramatta and Arab Theatre Studio.


April 28, 2023
April 30, 2023
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Riverside Theatres
Corner Market and Church St
Parramatta, NSW 2150 Australia
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