The Western Sahara International Film Festival (FiSahara), the world’s most remote film festival, will host a special screening this Saturday September 26th during the closing day of the 63rd Edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The two films selected from FiSahara’s XII edition, which took place this past April 29-May 3, are Iara Lee’s Life is Waiting (USA, 2015) and Darwin Cañas’ Musawat (Venezuela, 2015), which won second prize at FiSahara. The screenings will take place at 19:30 at Sala Kutxa with presentations by FiSahara Executive Director María Carrión and Sahrawi filmmaker Brahim Chagaf, a graduate of the Abidin Kaid Saleh Audiovisual School.
Musawat, which in the Hassannya language means inclusion, is a black-and-white documentary short filmed in the Sahrawi refugee camps that tells the story of a group of children with disabilities struggling to integrate into their society and the larger world. It follows a man called Castro, who works at a center for special needs and dedicates his life to helping these children attain “Mussawat” in their lives.
Life is Waiting is a feature shot in the occupied Western Sahara and in the Sahrawi refugee camps. The documentary journeys through the long struggle for freedom of the Sahrawi people, from young hip-hop artists in the Morocco-occupied Western Sahara who use their art as a tool for resistance, to the great Sahrawi singer Mariem Hassan, the “Voice of the Sahara”, who died this past August and to whom the film is dedicated. Along the way, viewers are introduced to the parallel lives of Sahrawis living under occupation and in exile for the past 40 years.
The screening will also show two student-produced shorts by the Abidin Kaid Saleh Audiovisual School, which is training the first generation of Sahrawi filmmakers.
FiSahara is an annual human rights film and culture festival that takes film to one of the most remote and forgotten communities in the world: the Sahrawi refugee population, which has lived in exile in refugee camps in Southwestern Algeria ever since Morocco invaded the Western Sahara in 1976. Hundreds of international visitors come to the festival to share a week of screenings, workshops, culture and solidarity with the local population, and to help raise international awareness about this frozen conflict.
FiSahara’s XII edition was dedicated to Universal Justice and hosted numerous visitors, including Nora Morales de Cortiñas, co-founder of Argentina’s Mothers of the Disappeared. The festival is part of the Human Rights Film Network and has attracted numerous international filmmakers and artists including actors Javier Bardem and Oona Chaplin, directors David Riker and Pamela Yates, musician Manu Chao and writer Eduardo Galeano.