Short film, big opportunity for Gulf filmmakers

Updated 08 December 2017

Short film, big opportunity for Gulf filmmakers

JEDDAH: Budding filmmakers in the Gulf are being handed a unique opportunity to see their work shine on a global stage thanks to the British Council’s “Small Screen, Short Film” festival.
Organizers of the project are inviting ambitious young directors who are Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents or citizens — or citizens living in the UK — to submit films no longer than three minutes via their smartphones.
The best entries will be screened to a worldwide audience during the online festival, which runs from March 15 to 25, 2018.
It is the first short-film festival for filmmakers aged 14 to 25 in the region and, to help people develop their entries, the British Council has partnered with Into Film, a British film-based educational charity, to create a step-by-step smartphone film guide, which is available for download from the festival website.
The competition boasts a jury of renowned GCC and UK filmmakers, who will shortlist the films to be screened.
Jury members already confirmed include Emirati director Abdulla Al-Kaabi, best known for critically acclaimed film “Only Men Go to the Grave”; Academy Award and four-time BAFTA award-winning British filmmaker Asif Kapadia, whose documentaries “Amy” and “Senna” won him high praise; and English actress and writer Amy Lowe.
Of the shortlisted films to be screened during the festival, four winners will be selected to receive one-on-one workshops with UK film talent.
Rehana Mughal, the British Council’s senior program manager for culture and sport in the Gulf, told Arab News: “The short films are a work of fiction — this just means it is a created story. This can be based on reality, it can be a drama or a comedy, and can be in either animation or live action.

Growing passion
“The medium of short film allows for ease of making, and the equipment of a smartphone or tablet means most people have access.”
Amir Ramzan, Saudi Arabia country director at the British Council, said: “Over our years in the Gulf, we’ve seen a growing passion among young people toward sport and culture in their communities, and have created the culture and sport program to provide a platform to support and grow this talent.
“We believe that everyone should be able to reap the benefits that being involved in sporting and cultural activities can bring, the idea being to help young people understand that you don’t necessarily have to be an artist or a footballer to be successful in this field, and that there are many exciting career opportunities in these sectors.”
Announcing the festival, the British Council tweeted: “Think you can make a great short film using your smartphone or tablet? Then check Small Screen, Big Film, a filmmaking competition and online film festival for filmmakers in the Gulf or Gulf nationals living in the UK.”
The British Council also tweeted: “Aged 14-25 and from the Gulf? The first ever Gulf smartphone film festival is now open for entries! two categories with 20 films screened online in March. Visit: … #keepitshort #competition.”
Entries close on Jan. 31, 2018.

Hafez Gallery brings together 5 galleries from around Jeddah for special fair

Syrian artist Osama Esid’s painting explores personal identity. (Supplied)
Updated 1 min 58 sec ago

Hafez Gallery brings together 5 galleries from around Jeddah for special fair

JEDDAH: The Hafez Gallery has organized the Shara Art Fair at the Saudi Art Council’s headquarters, bringing together five galleries from around Jeddah.
“I’ve been exhibiting with the Hafez Gallery for the past four years, ever since it started,” Osama Esid, from Damascus, told Arab News.
His painting at the art fair, “Zamakan,” is “about refugees sinking as they try to cross vast stretches of water,” he said.
He created the painting “in the dark to show the final resting place of these refugees,” he added. “I’d use brushes, sticks, and sometimes even my fingers.”
Artist Bashair Hawsawi told Arab News that his piece, showing a couple of broom heads attached back to back, “reflects the experiences I went through this year, because I want to clean my thoughts and ideas from negative things.” He added: “When I was young, people would comment on my shyness and weakness, so I started to be aware of this, and that helped me work out who I really wanted to be.”


• Five galleries from around Jeddah participated in the Shara Art Fair organized by Hafez Gallery.

• Artist Osama Esid, from Damascus, has been exhibiting his works at Hafez Gallery for the past four years.

• Bashair Hawsawi and Khalid Zahid were the other artists who had their works exhibited at the art fair.

Khalid Zahid, known for his Islamic-themed modern art, exhibited balloons shaped like mosques in different colors. “The concept is called ‘Joyful.’ What I wanted to show was how balloons bring joy whether you’re young or old,” he told Arab News.
“As for the shape, I wanted to show how Islam brings joy to people. That’s why they (the balloons) look like mosques.”