Arab Filmmakers See Opportunity as Revolutions Draw Interest to Middle East Cinema

by Peter D. Marshall

from Knowledge@Wharton.

For Hajer Ben Nasr, the challenge of getting her documentary on the life of Ibn Khaldun to the screen would be familiar to filmmakers the world over.

When it comes to Khaldun — 14th century Tunisian philosopher, historian and confidant of monarchs across the Middle East and North Africa — it seemed everyone had an interest; everyone wanted input; everyone had suggested revisions. “He was such a complex person, people were perplexed about the output of the production, and what it should be,” says Ben Nasr, a prolific documentarian and emerging TV production mogul.

Spain, with its Moorish past, wanted the film in its Khaldun Festival, but with some reservations. Neighboring Morocco wanted to “change some of the scenarios,” she says. “He is big in Algeria,” Ben Nasr continues. “This person is famous. Each country asked to read the script first.” Just like they do in Hollywood? “Exactly,” Ben Nasr replies. “Voila.”

Read the rest of this article from Knowledge@Wharton.

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