Wire Service: Reuters
On April 15, 2006 Reuters reported, "More than 30 films from the Arab and Muslim world will be playing at a week-long New York film festival. The Alwan Film Festival, created by a nonprofit group in Lower Manhattan, features several well-known Middle Eastern directors. The films tackle timely subjects such as the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Afghanistan... Bader Ben Hirsi, a British-Yemeni director whose film opened the festival on Friday, said: 'It's very important that Americans of all backgrounds come and see the films, especially on the event of the fifth year after 9/11.' 'It's important to see what the Middle East really is. I watch TV here and it's completely different from the Middle East I know,' Hirsi added. But the films are playing at just three lower Manhattan cinemas and the small festival has barely registered on the media radar of the city, coming as it does just before the much bigger Tribeca Film Festival. That festival's programme also boasts a substantial number of films from the Muslim world. Hirsi said he hoped the festival would draw a diverse audience. 'It would be nice, but I don't think it will be. I think the people that will turn out will probably be Arab Americans or Arabists,' he said."