Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival’s Splashy Spectacle

Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival's Splashy Spectacle

The Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival, in partnership with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), is all set to captivate audiences with its two-day extravaganza on October 22 and 23, 2023, at the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.

The Significance of Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival

In the heart of the United Arab Emirates, this festival aligns with the Year of Sustainability and COP28’s vision. It emphasizes the pivotal role of water in achieving environmental sustainability, promoting a sustainable future while spotlighting the theme of “Water” and its profound connection to climate change, ecological equilibrium, and human survival.

The Festival Program

A Cinematic Exploration of Water

The festival’s theme serves as a poignant reminder of water’s invaluable significance in addressing global challenges. It presents a curated selection of ten regional and international films, delving deep into water’s diverse facets.

Cultural Significance of Water

The festival starts with environmentalist Rasha Saleh’s presentation on Water and Activism. It features the mesmerizing short film “The Whelming Sea,” offering a glimpse into the lives of sea creatures, followed by the French masterpiece “The First Days” by Stephane Breton, showcasing nature’s power on Chilean beaches.

International Collaborations

The Institute Francais co-sponsors the event, emphasizing the global importance of environmental issues. The evening unfolds with short films from the U.S. and Lebanon, culminating in the screening of “Stepping Softly on Earth,” a compelling documentary narrating the struggles of indigenous peoples from Latin America.

Spotlight on Arab Environmental Cinema

The festival proudly introduces Syrian film director Omar Amiralay, a pioneering figure in Arab environmental cinema. His classic “Everyday Life in a Syrian Village” takes centre stage. Additionally, the evening showcases local Arab initiatives, including the Reef Festival in Lebanon and the Dibeen Lab in Jordan.

Day Two: A Journey Continues

The festival’s second day promises further enlightenment with an insightful EAD presentation, followed by an Egyptian short film, “Drowning Fish.” The day culminates with a fiction feature film from India, “The Whispers of Fire and Water,” a poignant tale of a sound artist seeking equilibrium in a world out of balance.

Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival's Splashy Spectacle

The Driving Forces Behind Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival

Scandar Copti: A Commitment to Change

Scandar Copti, CinemaNa Series Curator and Associate Arts Professor of Film at NYUAD expresses his unwavering commitment to the program. He recognizes the power of film as a unique and potent form of artistic expression that communicates complex issues and inspires change.

Dr. Nezar Andary: The Catalyst for Change

Dr. Nezar Andary, Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, Filmmaker, and Artistic Director of the Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival, reflects on the festival’s evolution. He emphasizes the role of artists and communicators in inspiring audiences to understand the threats to our planet and take action.

From Past Success to Future Ambitions

In 2022, the Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival held its second edition at Manarat Al Saadiyat under the theme “Oasis Paradox,” attracting more than 1000 visitors. The festival’s 2023 program aims to raise awareness among the public about vital environmental issues and foster a deeper connection to the planet through the art of film.


The Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival stands as a beacon of hope and awareness, showcasing the indispensable role of water in environmental sustainability. With diverse films, presentations, and passionate individuals driving the cause, it continues to inspire change and deeper understanding in the face of climate change. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a sustainable future. Join us on October 22 and 23, 2023, and let the power of film shape your perspective on the world’s most vital resource – water.

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