26th Arab Film Festival

A Conversation with Corine Shawi & Halim Sabbagh

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Director Corine Shawi and editor Halim Sabbagh sit down with fellow filmmaker, scholar and journalist Raed Raefi to discuss their documentary PERHAPS WHAT I FEAR DOES NOT EXIST.


Watch the film online or on November 15th at The New Parkway Theater!


Perhaps What I Fear Does Not Exist: When her father becomes suddenly paralyzed, the filmmaker spends four years in between hospitals finding shelter behind her camera away from a family tragedy. Rehabilitation centers, cemeteries, love making, VR experiments, fervent prayers and voice notes are the record of a filmmaker’s journey trying to amend the impossible: finding absolution for a broken family by making her father walk again.


Lebanese filmmaker Corine Shawi directed her first feature documentary Les Femmes bonnes from 2000 to 2006 observing the life of Doulika and other Sri Lankan women. She then directed several short documentaries. Daniela (2006) questions the body and gender identity, Oxygen (2007) urges her family to discuss a taboo matter, Affinity (2007) reflects on friendship’s boundaries, Film of welcome and farewells (2009) depicts loneliness, fragmentation and death in Copenhagen (selected at the Lebanese Film Festival and les Écrans du Réel). Je t’aime infiniment (2010) co-directed with Nikolaj B.S. Larsen examines solitude and sadness (premiered in CPH:DOX). e muet (2013), concerned with friendship, love and its expression, premiered in FID Marseille international competition & got screened in MK2 Beaubourg, KVIFF, JCC – Tunis among other festivals.


Halim Sabbagh was born in 1983. After studying filmmaking at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA), Halim Sabbagh directed several shorts as well as the documentary TVC, The Joy Of Life (2011), which premiered at the CPH:DOX Film Festival. Having previously worked in the advertising industry, he has also directed many television commercials. Sabbagh has worked as an Assistant Director on several features and helped establish the Lebanese Association of Assistant Directors. He is also an editor of feature films, series and documentaries such as Undocumented (2017), e-muet (2013), A certain Nasser (2017), and lately Perhaps What I Fear Does Not Exist (2022).  


Raed Rafei is a San Francisco-based Lebanese filmmaker, scholar, and multimedia journalist. He has worked as a Middle East reporter, director, and producer for media outlets like The Los Angeles Times, Al-Jazeera, and CNN. Rafei's independent films were screened at international film festivals and received several awards. Rafei is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.