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theartsdesk in Western Sahara: The World’s Most Remote Film Festival

23 May 2011


theartsdesk in Western Sahara: The World’s Most Remote Film Festival

During the 1960s when decolonisation movements were sweeping the world, it was joked that, after achieving independence, a country had to do three things: design a flag, launch an airline and found a film festival.
Western Sahara has a flag but no airline and despite a 35-year struggle has yet to achieve independence. The closest Western Sahara comes to its own film festival is the Sahara International Film Festival (known as FiSahara), the world’s most remote film festival, whose eighth edition took place this month in a refugee camp deep in the Algerian desert.

FiSahara takes place in a refugee camp 130 miles from the nearest town and aims offer entertainment and educational opportunities to the refugees as well as raise awareness of a forgotten humanitarian crisis. The refugees are Saharawis fromWestern Sahara ““ occupied unlawfully by Morocco in 1976 ““ and an estimated 165,000 of them have lived in four camps for over three decades.

Visitors to the festival live with refugee families sharing their tented or mud-brick homes. The hottest hours of the day are spent sitting on the carpeted floor drinking endless cups of sweet tea with your Saharawi hosts.


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Via The Arts Desk

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