The short film festival “Tunis Tout Court” — a much anticipated event that usually garners the attention of cinema lovers and critics — has been delayed this year due to security and logistical issues.
But its eighth incarnation, “Tunisian Short Dreams,” will most likely be held in late February or early March, although dates are not yet fixed, according to Mahrez Karoui, president of the Tunisian Association of the Promotion of Cinematic Criticism (ATPCC).
“The eighth edition is the edition of difficulties this year,” he said. “Unfortunately, problems are what distinguish it from the previous editions.”
Although some media outlets have announced that the festival will be held from February 28 to March 2, negotiations surrounding the dates are ongoing.
“We wanted to make sure directors attend the screenings, which took us longer than expected,” Karoui said. “Also, one of the major issues we encountered was the unavailability of cinema theaters. As you know, cinema theaters have been closing in the last few years. We had to find a cinema theater that is available.”
“Tunis Tout Court” highlights the importance of short films to the Tunisian cinematic scene and aims to promote young film directors.
“The idea came about eight years ago when we noticed that short films were not receiving the attention they deserved,” Karoui said. “We decided there should be a festival for short films by the end of each year. … It is true it is a short film, but it is a film nevertheless.”
In addition to screening Tunisian short films, the event holds roundtable discussions to tackle issues crucial to the cinematic scene. The theme of this year’s roundtable is, “The Problem of Scripts in Tunisia: A Crisis of Writers or Narcissism of Film Directors.”
Most Tunisian film directors write their own scripts even though there are professionals, who are skilled in this area, Karoui said.
“Since we have many influential writers, we decided to invite writers and film directors and discuss the idea of collaborations,” he explained. “Each party will be able to hear the opposite point of view and see if we can learn from each other.”
The festival will feature 11 Tunisian short films that were produced in the year 2012.
”For the eighth edition, we opted for narrative short films,” Karoui said. “In the past two years, there was an overproduction of documentary short films, whereas the short narrative film was ignored. The eighth edition will attempt to bring attention back to narrative short films.