Seven short films have been chosen for the highly anticipated Muhr awards, which will be showcased during Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), organised from December 6 to 13 in Dubai.
The Muhr awards provide a platform to unearth the best in Arab cinema and help discover and nurture burgeoning talent from the region. In addition to showcasing cultural intricacies and growing talent to a global audience, the ‘Muhr Short’ category provides the opportunity of a lifetime with the winning short film qualifying for consideration for an Academy Award 2019 nomination.
The first short film chosen in the category is A Drowning Man, directed by acclaimed Palestinian-Danish filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel. The film follows Fatah as he arrives in modern day Athens, evading predators and finding his way through the strange new world. Along his journey, the audience wonders if he will gain wisdom or succumb to desperation in his surroundings, as he struggles to define his new existence in exile.
Tunisian actress, author and filmmaker Nidhal Guiga has enjoyed critical acclaim across a variety of mediums. She now returns to DIFF for her first foray into short film with the world premiere of Astra, a journey that relishes in the unexpected.
Born in Palestine and raised in Jordan, Rakan Mayasi is known for his issue-tackling short films. Mayasi heads to DIFF with his latest short Bonboné, which explores one of many issues facing Palestinians held in Israeli jails.
Multi-talented filmmaker Fadi (The Fdz) Baki, founder of the Lebanese animation film festival, Beirut Animated makes his international premiere at DIFF with his short, The Last Days of the Man of Tomorrow, which tells the story of a young filmmaker who uncovers the mystery of a forgotten automaton, Manivelle, gifted to Beirut in 1945.
Tunisian filmmaker Abdelhamid Bouchnak makes his DIFF premiere with the release of his short, Le Bonbon.
Jordanian-Palestinian director Yassmina Karajah brings new talent and unique storytelling to the 14th Festival with her latest short, Rupture. Introducing a cast of first time actors, the international premiere is character-driven and intimate, as it follows four Arab teens who search for a public pool in their new city one sunny summer day.
Lebanese filmmaker Marwan Khneisser’s The Servants makes it worldwide premiere at this year’s DIFF. In a tale that takes a twist, Nabil, the guardian of an old villa near the sea, finds his day ruined when Sayed from the mafia comes to spend a day of debauchery with his friends in tow. To leave behind the chaos, Nabil’s son Wissam and Sayed’s son Fadi escape to bathe. Little do they know that escaping is not an option, as the past will tragically disrupt the day.
Masoud Amralla, DIFF’s Artistic Director, said, “The Muhr Short category strives to be a catalyst for the growth of the regional film industry. The unique medium of short films naturally encourages the inventive mind, as short filmmakers must bring beautiful stories to life that are riveting and to the point. We encourage audiences to come and experience the best of short film at DIFF 17, this year really will showcase a powerful and diverse selection of beautifully made and compelling short films.”
DIFF’s programmer Salah Sermini said, “The filmmakers in this year’s line-up bring a new level of cultural depth and understanding to DIFF. The variety, sensitivity and creativity of their work will ensure that this year’s ‘Muhr Short’ category captivates the audience like never before.”