Reel Festivals aim to run a new festival each year with the focus moving to a new culture or region each year. Below you can details and a downloadable brochure of our previous festivals.
At a time when Syria appears engulfed in violent conflict, Reel Syria aimed to present a nuanced portrait of the country and its people and raise funds for humanitarian aid for Syria.
Highlights of the festival included a panel discussion featuring world famous Syrian Caricaturist Ali Ferzat, Asian Dub Foundation‘s Steve Chandra Savale, Syrian novelists Manhal Alsarraj and Donatella Della Ratta, a Syrian film programme as part of DoxBox Global Day 2012 including a screening of A Flood in Ba’ath Country directed by the late, celebrated Syrian documentary maker Omar Amiralay, a performance of Score 328: SURROUND by ‘The17’ an international public performance project conceived by artist/author/musician Bill Drummond (KLF), readings by Syrian novelists including Ghalia Kabbani and a major fundraising concert featuring Samih Choukeir which raised over £36,000 for humanitarian aid for Syria in association with Mosaic Initiative for Syria
Download a full programme of events here: Brochure for Reel Syria 2012
Reel Festivals 2011 was our most ambitious event yet, and aimed to host events in Syria, Lebanon and Scotland, focusing on cultural exchange and interaction. Unfortunately due to developing events in Syria we have had to postpone events there, but our thoughts are with the people there and we aim to return there when possible. Instead we had a focused programme of events in Lebanon and Scotland, both of which featured Syrian elements alongside Scottish and Lebanese films, music and poetry. Scottish band Shooglenifty came to Beirut for 4 days as part of Reel Festivals and performed alongside Lebanese musicians in Beirut’s legendary Music Hall on the weekend. Art music legend Bill Drummond worked alongside Lebanese graffiti artist Siska to spread Bill Drummond’s mantra “Imagine Waking up tomorrow and all Music had Disappeared”. Lebanese, Syrian and Scottish poets performed new translations of each others work to rapt audiences. As one audience member put it: “It fairly makes a difference when you know the poetry makes a difference.” In Lebanon Scottish film-makers had audiences spell bound, with the Wicker Man making Time Out Beirut’s Classic film of the month and Amy Hardie and Lou McLoughlan leading excellent Question and Answer sessions. Then in Scotland we were very proud to see packed audiences for our Syrian and Lebanese screenings, particularly those with directors present. Hady Zaccak from Lebanon presented A History Lesson and Syrian directors Reem Ali and Soudade Kaadan both screened their films to great success. Right now we need these sorts of interactions more than ever, and we’ll be uploading footage of some of these discussions on the site soon.
And the festival continues through the creation of new works, with 3 films produced by Scottish Iranian Film maker and musician Roxana Vilk, new music created by DJ Dolphin Boy and an e-book of the poetry translations. We aim for these boundary crossing collaborations to continue and develop, there will be more!
“a truly multicultural arts festival has arrived in town” – The Guardian
Download a full programme of events here: Brochure for Reel Festivals 2011 – Scotland Brochure
Download a full programme of events here: Brochure for Reel Festivals 2011 – Lebanon Brochure
Reel Iraq was held over the course of 2009 and brought film- makers, writers, artists, lecturers and musicians from, or focusing on, Iraq to Edinburgh. James Longely presented his Oscar nominated ‘Iraq in Fragments’, while Sinan Antoon gave poetry workshops. Farida and the Iraqi Maqam Ensemble provided a stunning concert to great acclaim and there was an exhibition of contemporary Iraqi art featuring artists such as Hanna Mal Alla and Wafaa Bilal. This festival also took place in various venues in England and France.
“painful and beautiful” – The Scotsman
Download a full programme of events here: Brochure for Reel Festivals 2009 – Reel Iraq
In 2008 Reel Afghanistan brought musicians, film-makers, writers and artists together in a celebration of Afghanistan behind the headlines. The festival featured Afghan film-makers such as Atiq Rahimi (winner of 2008 Prix Goncourt), Engineer Latif from the Afghan National Film Archive, Richard Stanley and the incredible Sham Sufi Qawali Group for their first concert in the UK
“a much wider audience is finally getting a chance to see what Afghan filmmakers are capable of” – ABC News
Download a full programme of events here: Brochure for Reel Festivals 2008 – Reel Afghanistan
Reel Festivals is a Firefly International project. Firefly International aims to encourage dialogue and communication through the arts, and is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. For more information please visit www.fireflyinternational.org
All new work released by Reel Festivals is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.