The 12th annual Arab Film Festival Australia, which is sponsored by Etihad Airways, opened its 2015 program in Sydney last night. It will showcase 10 films from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

Etihad Airways’ Senior Vice President Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said the airline was proud of its partnership with the Arab Film Festival Australia.

“Etihad Airways first supported the Arab Film Festival Australia in 2008, which makes this one of the airline’s longest-running sponsorships in Australia.

“As the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways is committed to promoting a deeper appreciation of modern Arabian arts and culture and to playing a small but important role in bringing stories from the Arab world to Australian audiences.”

Arab Film Festival Australia Co-director Fadia Abboud said Etihad Airways’ support was key to the festival r‎eaching a wider audience.

“It’s our mission to showcase the diversity of the Arab experience to Australian audiences, and our partnership with Etihad Airways is important for delivering that objective.

“The airline’s support has enabled the festival to bring acclaimed director Amin Dora from Beirut to Sydney for opening night as this year’s special guest. This is a significant coup for the festival as Mr Dora’s opening night film Ghadi was Lebanon’s official submission to the Academy Awards and has been well received around the world.”

The festival is produced by Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE). Its organising committee represents Australia’s diverse Arabic-speaking communities and cultures.

The Arab Film Festival Australia will run in Sydney until 16 August, Melbourne from 21-23 August and Canberra from 28-30 August. For more information, visit www.arabfilmfestival.com.au