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Day 05 - April 14, 2012

Laughter and Lessons

Nine captivating tales screened at the ‘Films for Children‘ programme By Samiha S Naaz


lot of laughter and thought provoking lessons were taught and learnt in the animated and the non-animated children eccentric films premiered at the fifth edition of the Gulf Film Festival 2012. With movies that could make one laugh endlessly to those which had morals in them, the ‘Films for Children’ screening was a host to packed audiences, with children and adults from various age groups. Beginning with the film “Divine Intervention” from Taiwan by a university student Yen-Chi Tseng, this 4 minute film is about two turtles that are street performers and earn their living through it. A simple misunderstanding causes a rift between the two. Next in line was the 5 minute French film by Tristan Francis, “The Cow That Endeavoured To Look For Her Spots”, where a cow who loves looking at trains passing by loses her spots and is determined to find them. Another French film that got the audiences into fits of laughter was “Fat”, a 6 minute story about an isolated farm which is struck by a strange phenomenon. From the cows flying in the air, next in line was a jungle which turns into panic after hearing strange noises that gets all the animals hysteric, “Rumours” by Frits Standaert from Belgium takes you to the chaos in the jungle.

“The Farmer and The Robot” 20 minute animated film Aby bdollah Ali-Morad

Joana Santos and Andre Matos’s non-animated film “The Brightest Star” from Portugal, was about a young boy who believes his mom is a star and doesn’t know that she is actually dead. “A Shadow of Blue” by Carlos Lascano is another touching and heart rendering story about a girl and her hopes and dreams, which may not come true. “I Am Round” by Mario Adamson from Sweden is about a girl being born round and never feeling like she may fit in with the rest. One fine day that seems to change. Another nonanimated film,“The Washing Machine” by Danny Lynch from Canada, is about a 7 year old boy who tries to travel back in

Gulf Script Market winners pitch polished scripts to industry delegates


London in a Headscarf: A journey of an Emirati woman abroad By Qudsiya Siddiqui


ll of us are continuously exploring opportunities so we can find ourselves and be that individual, best described by our culture. London in a Headscarf is one such film that documents the journey of Mariam Al Sarkal, an Emirati woman studying

“London in a Headscarf ” among the finalists at the Gulf Student Short features ORGANIZER:

time through his washing machine to get back to his mother who passed away. ‘Films for Children’ ended with the film from Iran, “The Farmer and The Robot” by Abdollah Ali-Morad, a 20minute animated film which saw the audiences laughing their hearts out. All the children were accompanied by their parents. When asked the parents about their views on the ‘Films for Children’ hosted by the Gulf Film Festival, Aparna.H who got her daughter along to enjoy the films said, “The movies were definitely fun and had a message for the kids, but at the same time the films were meant for the ones above the ages of 7-8 since there was some difficulty for them to understand a few.” Also sharing her opinion was Christina with her two sons, “Besides them being enjoyable and fun, more advertising was required on GFF.” Aparna. H adds, “Many families don’t happen to know about the film festival and free screenings. More knowledge about these festivals would be an added advantage.” With films from different parts of the world and each having a meaning to them, ‘Films for Children’ addressed issues such as never losing hope to believing dreams can come true. From trusting your friends to being different from the rest. Each movie had a message of its own. The Gulf Film Festival 2012 has a lot to offer, even for the young ones.

abroad and the challenges she faces on a daily basis being around people who have no sort of knowledge about her culture or religion. “This documentary was a challenge in itself, because it meant going personal and digging deep into the thoughts and exposing your beliefs to the audience. It’s most definitely not easy to talk about oneself so openly.” says Mariam Al Sarkal. Mariam highlights the issues Emirati women face when making such decisions of studying abroad alone, or marrying a non-Emirati man, but if the gender roles are reversed then a man has no such difficulties in gaining acceptance for such decisions, which according to her is ridiculous. London in a Headscarf portrays Mariam’s take on living and studying in London but with a liberated mind-set which allows her to make decisions and also being alone gives a boost in self-confidence, a depth into life to explore self. She also felt her faith in Islam grew stronger being in London, as she found ways to keep her heritage alive within herself. Mariam Al Sarkal’s film has also won a special mention at the Dubai International Film Festival 2011 and this year she received opportunity to be featured in the Gulf Student Shorts for the Gulf Film Festival 2012. MEDIA PARTNER:

Scriptwriters who were selected for the first Gulf Script Market for Short Films, a brand-new initiative of the Gulf Film Festival, pitched their works to an audience of film directors and industry delegates, with passion and creative flair yesterday. Paired with the Festival’s existing US$250,000 Enjaaz annual production fund for Gulf short films, the Gulf Script Market was a three-stage process creating a new sounding board for the region’s film industry by fostering a professional script bank. From some 100 submissions, 14 were selected, and they went through a rigorous mentoring session led by Egyptian director and scriptwriter Mohamed Khan; award-winning Lebanese director, scriptwriter and film entrepreneur Michel Kammoun; and Bahraini author and scriptwriter Fareed Ramadan. The three-day exercise presented newly polished scripts to an audience of industry professionals for potential opportunities to convert the scripts into films. The stories narrated by the selected writers from the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq and Belgium, ranged from social commentaries to surreal dramas, almost all of them drawing inspiration from everyday realities. Mohamed Khan, one of the mentors, said that the scripts selected were ambitious and were stories that needed to be told to the world. He explained that the mentoring sessions focused on polishing the scripts, and motivating the writers to continue their good work, giving them a clearer direction of the structure.

Between film makers and distributors By Nazia Fatma

Panel members of the workshop - Short Films: Between Filmmakers and Distributors

Zakaria: People will remember my film whether they like it or not By Maria Hussain


fter being awarded the “Best student film” at the Emirates Film Competition in 2008, for his movie ‘The Beggar and Moustafa’s Brain’, Moustafa Zakaria returns with yet another attention-grabbing filmPillars. Chaptered according to the Five Pillars of Islam and set in an unnamed city in the United Arab Emirates, Pillars depicts the story of a man who tries to restore his self-worth after realizing that he is useless. Within the same context, a woman is determined to move forward after realizing that she has a purpose and contrastingly the man and woman were once married. “This film is divided into five chapters, thus relating the idea to the Five Pillars of Islam”, said Moustafa Zakaria. He informed that the idea of the film was established long time ago, but there wasn’t a story that suited it perfectly. Moustafa finally found a story and concept that would go with the particular idea.

Pillars, a story on the five pillars of Islam and set in an unnamed city in the UAE According to Zakaria, “People will surely have a recollection of the film. They will remember it in the future. Whether the audiences like it or not, the film does have an emotional texture attached to it.” Satisfied with the final outcome of the

movie, Zakaria said that his was sure that his film would get chosen at the Gulf Film Festival because of its subject matter. He believes that this movie is a step away from the melodrama that films usually consist of.

The Old Palm


by Eman Al Suwaidi

he Old Palm is a five minute short story by Eman Al Suwaidi about a lonely woman, whose husband has passed away and she is abandoned by her children too. She sits under a date palm tree that was planted by her husband and tries to relive those memories. “This is a story by my aunt. I have been hearing that since I was a child and have liked it a lot. I transferred the story to a script later. This film is dedicated to my aunt”, says Al Suwaidi. Wanting to become a full-time filmmaker, Al Suwaidi says she is nervous and excited to be here at GFF 2012. She also shares with us, that the aspiring filmmakers should be encouraged to become directors as there is a lot of talent out there.

10:30-11:30 Meet the Juries: Int’l & Gulf (Majlis room) 12:30-13.30 GFF Enjaaz: Progress, Next steps (Majlis room) 14:00-17:00 Sound Design & Color Grading: Making the Real Unreal (Filmmakers lounge)

April 16, 2012

11:00-12:00 GFF Closing Briefing (Majlis room) 17:30 onwards RED CARPET For the film screening schedule, click here

QUICK QUESTIONS Q. Tell us something about your short film “The Pillars”? I wanted to do something that fits the concept and has a strong story. The film is divided into five chapters hence it could be compared to the five Pillars of Islam. Pillars, a small snippet of social fabric in the U.A.E. Q. When and how did this concept trigger in your mind? A year ago, I had an idea but wasn’t sure about it till I was approached by twofour54 creative labs. And obviously having a great opportunity right in front of me, I decided to grab it and give it a shot. Q. Who supported you through this journey of filmmaking? Twofour54 were great people to work with and also funded my project bringing my idea into action. Then my family had been very supportive throughout in this journey of filmmaking because in this country, you get a lot of pressure from the society where they don’t really accept such doings. You’re always in this constant suspicion that the society will not accept! Or, it will upset our society stigmas, especially the actors. - By Mary Joy




April 15, 2012

The advice given by Michel Kammon, a producer and film director, was that “the film makers should not make any concession with their movies, if its good it will sell, no matter what the culture is.”

Photo Credits: Anzuma Akhter

“Short Films: Between Filmmakers and Distributors” was a workshop conducted yesterday, that focused on the short filmmakers and how they can make their movies more viable for the current market. Comprising of an industry panel that included personalities like Mahi Golchin, Michel Kammon, Alber Frank, Andy Fordhan, John Chahine and moderator Samar Al Marzooki. There were three key questions that discussed the support, challenges and the ideal scenario for the filmmakers and their movies. With reference to what kind of support small budgeted films receive, Mahi Golchin, a distributer said, “usually these movies get support from the government and only because of that they make it to the public.” John Chahine, the general manager of Italia Film Company and a distributor finds

that, “when we buy short films we don’t know what to do with them, they don’t sell as well as the other commercial films.” Addressing the packaging of films, Mahi Golchin said that the product has to be relevant and you have to think ahead to make the audience and distributors know about your work. Distributors need to embrace new mediums to spread their movies, especially the online market, which is an excellent way to gain popularity for the movies. There were other ways discussed that involved giving movies an airline package showing them during the plane journeys, another one was of showing them in theaters before the actual movie commences. The movies can also be featured in DVDs made by combining 3 or 4 different short films. Also different institutes are good as it can be screened there with a large audience for it.



by Nadia Fares


icking up a controversial topic in the Middle East, Nadia Fares’s third film, Expectation tells the story of a father who has children with two separate wives. The topic chosen by her is indeed sensitive, but she says that she had no difficulty while shooting the film as she handled it sensitively and tenderly. “I’m from a mixed cultural background. My father is an Egyptian and my mother is from Switzerland, and I was born in Cairo and studied in New York. So coming from a diverse background, I was able to understand the different cultures and this led me to write my script.” She advises the aspiring filmmakers to keep working hard and believe in themselves to attain success.

by Faisal Al Moosa


true story with a little bit of comedy about three young boys in the 70’s, who seem very naughty and skip school, and are to be punished and brought back there, is the synopsis of Skipping by Faisal Al Moosa, who is a second year media student at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai. This is the story of my father, and it is dedicated to him, Al Moosa says. He aspires to become an established filmmaker to continue the job of making films. His advice to aspiring filmmakers, is not to give up and continue no matter what It is his first time ever at a film festival which makes him feel great and motivated.

- By Christine Cherian

Meet the international filmmakers click here.

Watch the trailer of “Envy the dead” (18+) screening in Grand Cinema #12, Dubai Festival City: 16 April @ 15:00-16:30 click here

Publication by the Media and Communcations Department, Manipal University Dubai Executive Editors: Joseph John, Sabir Haque Managing Editor: Megna Kalvani Technical In-Charge: Sambhram Pattanayak Production Designer: Khadija Shabbir Proofreader: Zainab Akbarali

GFF Daily Issue #5- 14 April 2012  

Gulf Film Festival 2012- GFF Daily Issue #5 - Content produced by media students from Manipal University, Dubai.