Muayad Alayan is sitting in the lobby of the Hotel Africa in Tunis. It’s late November and he, like everyone else in Tunis and at the Carthage Film Festival, is under government-imposed curfew.
All evening and networking events have been cancelled, a 30-day state of emergency has been declared, and the festival organisers have been forced to re-write the screening schedule for the remaining four days. Twenty-four hours earlier, just 500 metres from the hotel, 12 members of the Tunisian Presidential Guard died at the hands of a suicide bomber.
Outside, parts of the Avenue Habib Bourguiba have been sealed off and people are stuffed like malfouf into the hotel foyer. Everyone is here. Nabil Ayouch, the director of controversial Moroccan film Much Loved; Tarzan and Arab Nasser, the Gazan brothers behind Cannes debutante Dégradé; the actress Hiam Abbass; and Egyptian satirist Bassem…
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