From Gafsa to Redeyef, it is 45 miles and just about an hour’s drive through dry, chalky land dotted with dusty green shrubs. Beyond a long and gradual ascent, the town materializes, empty and grey. It is the end of December, and winter break: everything is closed up, so the streets appear as bleak as the weather. A few minutes off the main road is Economat, the main venue for this year’s Documentary Film Festival. Over four days, Economat is alive with a team of organizers, seasoned and amateur filmmakers, sound and projection engineers, musicians, professors and festival goers. Economat, recently renovated and sparsely equipped, is the vestige of a colonial structure. Though barely a few degrees warmer than outside, the building and energy it holds are welcoming refuge from the cold air and sharp wind. On the opening evening, a concert by Abdullah Miniawy and Ahmed Salah from Egypt draw a considerable crowd, a number of youth from around town, besides the 30 or so people bussed in from the capital.