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.
“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: http://bit.ly/SmallScreenBigFilm … #keepitshort #competition.”
Entries close on Jan. 31, 2018.