Lyna Khoudri in Houria (2022)

Al Qamar Film Festival lights up Prague’s Edison Filmhub this weekend

The inaugural Al Qamar Film Festival descends upon Prague’s Edison Filmhub this weekend, featuring a lineup of contemporary films from the Middle East and North Africa along with an accompanying cultural program. All films screened will be presented in English-friendly versions during the festival, which takes place from August 31 through September 3.

The Al Qamar Film Festival coincides with a rare blue supermoon, which is taking place this year for the first time since 2009. A blue supermoon occurs when there are 13 moon cycles in a yearly calendar instead of the usual 12, and during the full moon that is closest to the Earth and brightest. In Europe, that full moon will be at its peak tonight.

While the overcast weather in Prague hasn’t made for prime moon viewing over the past few days, things should clear up just in time for the festival this weekend. In addition to the movies at Edison Filmhub, the Al Qamar Film Festival will also include a special moonlight market featuring traditional food and cultural gifts under the light of the moon.

The Al Qamar Film Festival will kick off on Thursday evening with a screening of the Algerian drama Houria, directed by Mounia Meddour (Papicha, Edwige). Houria stars Lyna Khoudri as a talented dancer who aspires to join the Algerian National Ballet, but spends her nights betting on back-alley fights in an attempt to start a new life.

Also screened at this year’s Al Qamar Film Festival in Prague will be the family drama Rebel, from Belgian directors of Moroccan descent Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Rebel, which screened in competition at last year’s Cannes film festival, follows a Muslim family in Europe that struggles with radicalization after an older brother leaves to fight in Syria.

The directors of Rebel, who also made Bad Boys for Life and the upcoming Bad Boys 4, will also be in attendance at the Al Qamar Film Festival and on hand for a follow-up discussion. Last year, their nearly-completed Batgirl movie starring Leslie Grace, J.K. Simmons, Michael Keaton, and Brendan Fraser was scrapped during cost-cutting measures by Warner Bros. in an unprecedented move.

Also screening at the Al Qamar Film Festival will be Nabil Ayouch’s hip hop drama Casablanca Beats, Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Oscar-nominated animated documentary Flee, Ali Abbasi’s The Holy Spider, Tarik Saleh‘s Cairo Conspiracy, Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan, and Jafar Panahi’s eye-opening documentary Taxi Teheran.

The festival will also include a special screening of the 1924 silent classic The Thief of Bagdad, starring Douglas Fairbanks, on Friday night. The film will be accompanied by a live score from Syrian musician and longtime Prague resident Marwan Alsolaiman.

The accompanying moonlight markets at the Al Qamar Film Festival will include traditional goods such as ceramics, jewelry, perfumes, artwork, and more, to go along with henna tattoos and some mouth-watering cuisine from Bistro Habibi.

“Through the power of cinema, we aim to shed light (and moonlight) on the rich cultural heritage of these regions, challenging stereotypes and telling authentic stories,” Al Qamar Film Festival director Ryan Keating says in a press release. “We invite everyone to join us in this celebration, under what I hope will be a spectacular and celestial event!”

“To host Al Qamar in a cultural hub like Edison is an honor. Not only is it a superb space for cinema, but the cafe is also fantastic – grab some traditional hummus and pita and watch a film in the cinema, or browse the markets in the summer night air.”

For more information about this year’s Al Qamar Film Festival, follow the festival on Facebook and Instagram find the full schedule of movies at the website of host Edison Filmhub.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *