Sharjah Art Foundation Screens Three Short Films in Collaboration with Habibi Collective This Friday

Sharjah Art Foundation Screens Three Short Films in Collaboration with Habibi Collective This Friday

The online screening programme features acclaimed films that venture into diasporic, collective and inherited memories

SAF Online: Film

Ghosts of Songs: Oral Histories in MENA Female Cinema

Three short films

Friday, 12 June 2020

8:30 pm (GMT +4)

Sharjah Art Foundation presents Ghosts of Songs: Oral Histories in MENA Female Cinema, the second in a three-part series of online screenings in collaboration with the digital film archiving platform Habibi Collective. Taking place on Friday, 12 June 2020, at 8:30 pm (GMT +4), the programme features three thought-provoking documentary and experimental short films about memory that examine relationships between environment and culture, the effects of migration, and family life during times of unrest.

This three-part series of online film screenings, running until 26 June 2020, aims to celebrate the world of female filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa. Drawing from acclaimed short and feature-length narrative, documentary and experimental films, the three programmes in the series, each focusing on a different theme, map various traditions and explorations of feminist narratives across filmmaking in the region.

See below for a detailed overview of Programme 2:

Memory has been a subject much explored in the MENA cinema industry, through documents, archival footage and oral testimonies. In a region of shifting borders and mutable political dynamics, memories are often more deeply rooted than the nations themselves. The memories included in this film programme offer alternative accounts to those of mainstream histories. Drawing on diasporic, collective and inherited memories, the films attempt to narrativise a series of uprooted experiences, building for them a new home. 

Fiery Father (2018)

Director: Jala Wahid

United Kingdom

Experimental | 7 minutes

No dialogue with English and Kurdish subtitles

Fiery Father explores the symbolism surrounding the eponymous natural fire Baba Gurgur (Kurdish for ‘fiery father’), specifically the mythical and political importance it holds in Kurdish culture. Against the backdrop of the daf drum, the formation of crude oil becomes synonymous with Kurdish dancing (halparkeh), creating a landscape where Kurdish spirit is the embodiment of its disputed land, defiance and joy. 

The film was presented as part of director Wahid’s solo exhibition Newroz at Sophie Tappeiner, Vienna (2019). 

Only My Voice (2017)

Director: Myriam Rey

United Kingdom

Documentary | 12 minutes

Arabic with English subtitles

In transit through Athens, four migrant women from the Middle East share their stories of uprootedness. As they recount their personal experiences of freedom, their stories, resonating and interacting with the city of Athens, gradually begin to echo one another.

This film was developed by the Scottish Documentary Institute and funded by Creative England. It premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (2017) and was also screened at the Beirut International Film Festival (2017) and London Short Film Festival (2018), among others.

Only My Voice won Best Short Doc at the Nova Frontier Film Festival, New York (2019).

Like a String of Beads (2019)

Director: Inas Halabi


Documentary | 26 minutes

Arabic with English subtitles

In this film, Inas Halabi documents the lives of nine siblings who reside in the village of Ibillin in northern Palestine. As they explore their individual oral histories, the family members attempt to build a collective history. With the action contained within one household, the film unpacks diverging experiences of the same events, veering between collective agreement and disagreement, and traces the rhythms of daily life and the memories haunting the home. Halabi frames the family dynamics within the wider Palestinian struggle, exploring how the struggle has impacted their lives and will continue to shape their family history.

The livestream can be accessed at 8:30 pm through this link. As the films will be screened consecutively and cannot be streamed on demand, viewers who join the streaming at a later time will not be able to watch the entire film programme from the beginning.

Previous online screenings organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation Film Programme include Black Girl (1966), directed by Ousmane Sembene; The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011), directed by Rania Stephan; The Landing (2019), directed by Akram Zaatari; and Al Araba Al Madfuna I (2012) and Al Araba Al Madfuna II (2013), both directed by Wael Shawky.

Future screenings and upcoming films will be announced via our website and social media channels.

For more information, visit