From left to right: Abdo Chahine, Muna Wassef, Sadek Sabbah and Samer Barqawi. Image Credit: Supplied

Each year, one of the biggest features during Ramadan is the assortment of compelling Arabic Drama TV series. Over the years, we have seen great productions dominated by some of the Arab screen’s most favoured actors including Adel Imam, Yousra and Nelly Karim.

This week, during a press conference at the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff), some of the Ramadan attractions coming this year were revealed. Attendees included actress Muna Wasseff, producers Sadek Sabbah and Jamal Al Adel, and Lebanese actor Abdo Chahine.

Speaking at the panel was producer Alaa Karkouti, who revealed that Egyptian production company El Adl Group had five projects in store for 2018, with more to be added later. This includes Bani Youssef, Zein, Akhlaa Lel Bei (Morals for Sale) and the second season of Al Haybeh.

Bani Youssef will star Yousra in the role of a retired judge involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Karim will also be appearing on the small screen in Ekhtefa’a (Disappearance).

“I do think Arab television is showcasing a variety of series on various topics, excellent topics; There is such rich content on a global level. However, there are some topics that are not being given room — but what we hope for in general is that any drama series should be portraying the true realities of the topic its covering,” said Chahine.

Asked about the possible reasons hindering such topics from being told, Chahine explained this could be due to subjects dubbed too “taboo” to be explored in drama. Perhaps, he adds, collaboration is key.

“In general, it is my dream that we in the cinematic sphere — through the Diff, should send a message to the Arab community that we must converse in [topics of importance to us], whether be it through TV dramas or cinema,” Chahine said.

Television, according to him, is considered a “warm addition” to any household.

“TV is a guest in every Arab home. You can choose to go to a film festival like this one or head to the cinema and you’ll be exposed to great productions,” he said.

In terms of future projects, he hopes to continue playing a “bold and active” role in telling tales from the Arab world.

— The Young Journalist Award (YJA) at Diff is a training programme for high school and university students who are aspiring writers and reporters. Seven students are competing at the festival this year. One winner will secure a monthlong internship with Gulf News.