Though many know the region as an unruly valley, local coca farmers have built a different kind of identity.
I asked Bakri to disclose a few things about himself, in the first person. Hidden within his answers is the key to his present and future success.
After all is said and done, the movie screenings finished, the red carpets rolled away and the party venues dismantled, what should a film festival leave a cinema lover with?
I still hope for a day when Israeli filmmakers will be allowed to show their films in festivals throughout the Arab world and Palestinian filmmakers will once again show their oeuvres in Jerusalem, Haifa and other festivals around the country.
Despite its short length, The Aftermath is a full and significant film, and although bare and minimalist in look, it's crowded with expectation. It is also groundbreaking, as I've endlessly mentioned before, the first film from Egypt to be included in the Cinéfondation.
That's why every night -- as James is onstage performing Friend Like Me -- he makes a point of making eye contact with every other cast member who's out there making this eight-minute-long production number stop the show.
At Cannes, announcements are made, bonds are created and, my favorite part, I get to reconnect with some of my favorite people -- exactly what happened with Alaa Karkouti, when we sat outside, across from the Palais de Festival and he caught me up on all the excitement that is to come for MAD Solutions.
A few months ago, for Abu Dhabi magazine Shawati', I caught up with Gianluca Chakra, the talent and mind behind Front Row Filmed Entertainment, one of the leading distributors in the Middle East.
Personally, I feel that the elusive "peace" -- along with inseparable companions, justice and equality -- in the region will come out of what one filmmaker calls "artistic resistance."
The films' titles say much about their differences: Omar has a sympathetic character at center: in the film Bethlehem, the arid Biblical place is the focus, yet each features individuals on opposite sides of the conflict sacrificed in cycles of violence.