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Tunisia's film festival opens amid tight security

Event takes place after country has been rocked by deadly attacks throughout 2015
The festival includes 17 feature-length films, 13 shorts and 16 documentaries (AFP)

Tunisia’s Carthage Film Festival, where Arab and African cinematographers showcase their work, opened amid heavy security Saturday in a country rocked this year by deadly attacks.

In June, a religious fighter went on a shooting spree at a popular Mediterranean resort, killing 38 foreign tourists. The government imposed a state of emergency that was lifted in early October.

In March, gunmen stormed the national museum in the capital, killing 21 tourists and a policeman.

The event's director, Ibrahim Letaief, said the festival, opening just a week after attacks in Paris left at least 130 people dead, is an "antidote to violence," as film "tears away the veil of darkness and is the guarantor of the greatest victory over terrorism".

Culture Minister Latifa Lakhdar echoed that sentiment, saying: "Creativity is the greatest way to mark our attachment to life and our battle against those people who would destroy even the most elementary principles of life."

Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli insisted that "we have taken the necessary measures to guarantee maximum security, because this event represents the joy of Tunisians and of our guests".

Filmmakers from Africa and the Arab world, Arab movie stars and politicians walked down the red carpet to the Bonbonniere theatre for opening night.

The official competition at the festival, which will end on 28 November includes 17 feature-length films, 13 shorts and 16 documentaries.

Much Loved, a Moroccan film about prostitution that is banned at home, will be among those featuring in competition.

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