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The Ninth edition of Middle East Now

is going on now! 


Learn more about the Middle East through cinema, art, music, theater, food,

and debates all over Florence.

Middle East Now is organized by Map of Creation, a non-profit cultural association based in Florence

What to Expect from the 2018 Middle East NOW Film Festival in Florence?

Read this article by LPD student Intern Veronika Jelenik

Check out Veronika's report on The Middle East Now Festival Closing Ceremony with NYU Florence Students awarding the best short film

An NYU Florence student Team mentored by Director Gail Segal of Tisch Film and Television will award the festival's prize for Best Short Film. 

The Prize will be announced at the closing ceremony on April 16 at 9:00pm at Cinema La Compagnia. All NYU students are welcome to join the jury at the movie screenings and the closing ceremony.

Below are the some of the films they will see:

The Student Jury at their first meeting

Artist Ahaad Alamoudi

NYU Florence Short Film Jury

Hassan Kattan, The Day we left Aleppo

April 11, 8:45pm | Cinema La Compagnia


Occupied Palestine: a serene landscape now pockmarked by military checkpoints. When a Palestinian film crew decides to avert a closed checkpoint by taking a remote side road, the political landscape unravels, and the passengers are slowly taken apart by the mundane brutality of military occupation.

Focus Syria in Short

April 13, 3:00pm | Cinema La Compagnia


After seven years of war, the Festival focuses on Syria's current situation through screenings. Below the trailer of "One Day in Aleppo" by  Ali Alibrahim, the story of a group of children which, after five months of the suffocating siege and daily bombings of the city of Aleppo, take it upon themselves to start painting colors in their city as a game in order to forget their daily struggles and to show some optimism among the hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the city.

Focus Kuwait

April 12, 5:00pm | Cinema La Compagnia


Selection of short films by young directors from Kuwait. Below the trailer of "Our Neighbor Bu Hamad" by Meshal Alhulail. Its main character is named Khaled and he is a twenty-something man who usually minds his own business. But when strange noises begin emanating from his neighbor, Bu Hamad’s house, his curiosity is piqued. But soon, he starts to regret his decision to discover the cause.

The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller

April 13, 8:45pm | Cinema La Compagnia


A rotoscoping animation film inspired from a true events. An artist named Khaled decides to investigate the murder of a kid who sold sweet potato during the revolution of Egypt after having dreams and synchronicity that has to do with the boy and his murder. Events follow where the investigations leads to a matrix of chaos where the truth is completely lost.

Artist in Residence Ahaad Alamoudi

Young artist Ahaad Alamoudi, a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art in London born and raised between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, will be in residence at Villa La Pietra during the festival.


She will meet with students on April 12 from 12:30pm to 2:00pm at Villa Natalia to talk about her art and invite them to be part of her exhibition opening during the festival on April 13. 


Her project called “The Message Has Been Sent” is a video piece reflecting the translated comic strip of the character Cheetah. The females within her piece will recreate different sculptural forms inspired by Florence and the sculptures that surround it. 

Israel-Palestine Discussion Group

Students will meet with Professor Marcella Simoni to learn more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through talks and films. on April 12  at 8:00 pm at Cinema La Compagnia, after the movie screening, and April 15 at 5:00pm at Villa Sassetti. Below are some of the films which will be discussed:

A graffiti on the West Bank barrier by street artist Banksy

Annemarie Jacir, Like Twenty Impossible

April 11, 8:45 pm | Cinema Stensen

Occupied Palestine: a serene landscape now pockmarked by military checkpoints. When a Palestinian film crew decides to avert a closed checkpoint by taking a remote side road, the political landscape unravels, and the passengers are slowly taken apart by the mundane brutality of military occupation.

Annemarie Jacir, Salt of This Sea

April 11, 8:45 pm | Cinema Stensen

Soraya, 28, born and raised in Brooklyn, decides to return to live in Palestine, a country that her family was exiled from in 1948. Her path crosses that of Emad, a young Palestinian whose ambition, unlike hers, is to leave the country for good. To escape the constraints linked to the situation in Palestine but also to earn their freedom, Soraya and Emad take things into their own hands, even if this means breaking the law.

Moran Ifergan, Palestinians. Us First

April 12 , 6:15pm | Cinema La Compagnia

A woman who decided to break-up her marriage, fled to the biggest confessional in the world, the Western Wall in Jerusalem and stayed there for a year. “Hakir” (Wall) follows the divorce story of the director, entirely through her phone calls and recorded messages to and from the important women in her life: her mother, her older sister, and her best friend. At the same time, the film provides a first glimpse at what happens in the “Women’s Section” of the Western Wall, the most intimate public site imaginable.

Danielle Schwartz, Mirror Image

April 15, 4:30 pm | Cinema Stensen

Jewish Israeli grandparents are challenged by their grandchild to compose an agreed-upon version of the untold story of a large crystal mirror, taken from the Palestinian village of Zarnuqa during the Nakba - the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians by the new Israeli state in the 1948 war.

Check out this overview by NYU Florence students Jessica Purcell & Tia Glista to discover more about contemporary Middle Eastern politics and activism

Special Opportunity!


Write film and exhibition reviews for LPD !


LPD is accepting film and exhibition reviews written by NYU Florence students for the LPD Blog.

Submissions can be sent to: 




April 15, 9:00 pm Teatro della Compagnia


District Unknown, the only metal band born within a nation decimated by war, in Afghanistan, is willing challenge conservatism with culture. It is through music that Afghan youth finds meaning and hope in a devastated nation. The band’s story has become a documentary “ROCKABUL” by director Travis Beard -; the screening will be preceded by a performance of the band for the first time ever in Italy.


Cinema La Compagnia, April 12, 7:30 pm

“Our Syria. Recipes from Home” is a collection of stories and recipes  written by two young passionate cooks Dina Mousawi and Itab Azzam. The book is a celebration of the  culinary culture  of Syria and a celebration of what food and memory can represent for people and for the identity of a nation. The two authors met Syrian women in the Middle East and in Europe, spending months cooking with them, learning their recipes, listening to their stories, maintaining a strong culinary identity. Dina and Itab are among the special guests of the festival, with a  show cooking, a book presentation and an aperitif


Cinema La Compagnia – Via Cavour, 50r ,

April 10-15, – (10:00 am / 12:00 am – free entrance)


Flying Boys shows young men captured while they are diving or flying in the air in Beirut, Akka, Tunis and Gaza, conveying a sense of freedom, calm and relief. The photographer is Tamara Abdul Hadi is one of the most established Middle Eastern photographers, co-founder of Rawiya, the first group of women photographers in the Middle East. With her photographic work she investigates on the representation of the male identity in the Arab world, exploring its complexity and stereotypes. Visit her website


Cinema La Compagnia/Cinema Stensen, April 10-15


The festival includes the screening of 43 films awarded at the main international festivals and gives the chance to meet with filmmakers. The premiere of the documentary "Of Fathers and Sons" by Talal Derki (in the picture), winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the last Sundance Film Festival, will be presented at 9.00 pm at the Cinema La Compagnia. Syrian director Talal Derki returns to his homeland where he gains the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for over two years. His camera focuses on Osama and his younger brother Ayman, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up in an Islamic Caliphate.