THIRTY-FIVE Bahraini films will be screened this week at a festival aimed to promote national unity and overcome sectarian tensions.
The National Unity Film Festival, organised by the Bahrain Youth Society (Al Shabiba), will begin today at the Alumni Club in Adliya.
Filmmakers will showcase short films and documentaries focusing on politics, human rights, women empowerment, drama and comedy.
The Bahraini productions will be screened alongside 25 films from various countries including the Netherlands, Mexico, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Belarus and Iraq.
The event, which will continue until Tuesday, will run from 6pm until 10pm on all days.
Organisers hope the festival will encourage young Bahraini filmmakers  to pursue their passion.
"We have 35 films by Bahraini directors on different topics such as women empowerment, human rights and other issues that will be screened during the festival," said organiser and society media head Hussain Al Oraibi.
"I believe this is the first time in Bahrain a film festival has received such a response from local talents."
Mr Al Oraibi said 14 films, including six directed by Bahrainis, have been shortlisted to compete for the top three awards at the festival.
"The basic theme of all the 14 films is national unity and the panel of judges will select the best film," he said.
An exhibition by Lebanese artist Tamara Ismail will be held alongside the festival, which will also include original posters of classic Arabic films.
A photography workshop will also be conducted by Mohammed Lutfi, who has won international accolades for his work.
"The exhibition of posters will take visitors back in time and remind them of cinema in the 60s and 70s," explained Mr Al Oraibi.
"It will help the public know about the rare era in the history of Arab cinema."
Some of the Bahraini films that will be screened are Lu'bba (Game) directed by Saleh Nass, Homeland Biography directed by Jamal Alghylan, Judge directed by Yaser Al Qurmozi, Eclipse directed by Abdulla Al Sadawi and Sokoon directed by Amar Al Kooheji.
Others include Bird in the Hand (Ireland), Wild Fish (Iraq), One (Mexico), Disconnect (Egypt) and Love, Dream and Paradise (Egypt).
Selected films have a running time of 30 minutes or less.
The festival is being held as part of the Wihda Wahda (Let's Unite) campaign, which is a national scheme promoting social reconciliation co-ordinated by the Social Development Ministry. For more information, visit the group's Twitter account @unityff .