RIVERSIDE Theatres Parramatta presents the Australian premiere of Habibi tonight at 8pm.
"A lot of people are really excited that we are opening the Arabic Film Festival with a Palestinian film," said Fadia Abboud, a community worker at the Parramatta-based Information and Cultural Exchange, which has organised the festival.
Watch the Sun's video about the film festival, shot by Carlos Furtado, below:
Susan Youssef's Habibi is the first feature film to come out of conflict-ridden Gaza in 15 years and is one of 11 international films, including two Australian, to be shown over four days at Riverside Theatres.
More than 18,000 people have attended and experienced cinematic stories from filmmakers in Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Paris, Canada, UK, USA, Australia, UAE, Kuwait, Sweden and Japan since the Arabic Film Festival's inception in 2001.
Tonight's curtain-raiser includes a performance by the Andalusian Arabic Choir, who will you take you back to when the Spanish Arabs first set popular poetry to music and sung in the mouwashah and zajal styles.
Ms Abboud reminded film-goers that there would also be a free forum at 2pm on Sunday (July 1) at the Riverside, "where we sit around in a ladies lounge and talk about Arab women in cinema in history".
For full program details, visit: www.arabfilmfestival.com.au.