Arab cinema is once again gaining international recognition as eight Arab short films get selected at the Palm Springs International ShortFest.

Chosen from over 6,000 applications across 69 countries around the world, these promising works from the region will be showcased among over 300 other films.

Considered the largest film festival for shorts in the United States, this year it will be taking place online from Tuesday June 16 to Monday June 22.

Here is a closer look at the Arab films that made the cut.

 

Henet Ward by Morad Mostafa (Egypt)

In the running for the Best Live-Action Short over 15 Minutes, Henet Ward follows a Sudanese henna painter in Egypt and her seven-year-old daughter as they prepare a bride for her big day, and as a result get caught up in the family drama.

Arabian Alien by Meshal Al Jaser (Saudi Arabia)

Inspired by his own experience of living in Riyadh, Meshal Al Jaser tells a story of a a Muslim married man who overcomes his depression once he meets a space alien in the desert. It’s up for Best of the Festival award.

Ome by Wassim Geagea (Lebanon)

An emotional depiction of nine-year-old Elias who goes above and beyond to bring back his mother from heaven. It is up for Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes.

Give up the Ghost by Zain Duraie (Jordan)

Already an award-winning film after scooping up the best Arab short film prize at El Gouna Film Festival, Give up the Ghost follows a couple who are struggling with infertility.

The Present by Farah Nabulsi (Palestine)

Set in the occupied West Bank, husband takes his daughter on a tense shopping trip, navigating between soldiers, segregated roads and checkpoints, to buy his wife a wedding anniversary present.

Soukoon by Farah Shaer (Lebanon)

Up for both Best of the Festival Award and the Best Student International Short, Soukoon gives us an insight into a personal turmoil of a woman who thinks she’s pregnant while going through marital woes.

So What if the Goats Die by Sofia Alaoui (Morocco)

The film, which is up for Best International Short, is a tale of young mountain shepherd who hikes through the treacherous Atlas Mountains during winter to find food for his cattle. On his journey, he comes face to face with a supernatural phenomenon. The film has already gained international recognition and even bagged a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Stallions of Palestine by Elise Coker (Palestine)

A 30-minute story of horse breeder named Abdel Naser Musleh and his family as they push through difficulties of raising champion Arabian horses in the West Bank.

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