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25 powerful films to be screened at Gulf Film Festival ‘Lights’ segment

Films "offer a perfect kaleidoscope into the contemporary Gulf society".

April 1, 2010 4:42 by

Dubai, UAE; April 1, 2010: An array of short films that capture the multi-faceted identity of the Gulf region forms the ‘Lights’ segment at the third edition of the Gulf Film Festival to be held from April 8 to 14 under the patronage His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

The 25 films that will be screened range from tales set against the backdrop of politics to the triumphs and travails of individuals. Together, they offer a perfect kaleidoscope into the contemporary Gulf society, captured on camera in a crisp, no-frills manner.

Festival Direct Masoud Amralla Ali said that the films selected for the ‘Lights’ segment perfectly encapsulate the modern-day social and political dynamics of the Gulf region. “By their very nature, short films need to be creatively structured to convey a powerful idea in a relatively short period of time. Our showcase this year shows how the filmmakers have experimented with diverse subjects and have succeeded in connecting with the audience.”

Emirati filmmaker Mohamed Alsaadi explores the feminine psyche that is Mahfouz, in which a missing child is adopted by a woman, whose husband has left her after having an affair on a business trip; while a lonely woman is suddenly faced with the choice of marrying another man when she notices that her husband is hardly ever around in Mohamed Khalil Hosa’s Two. Essa Al Janahi’s Hable Al Ghaseel (Clothes Line) points out that although people are different we all have something in common.

Shadmehr Rastin gives an insight into the life of an autistic child in a documentary titled Make Me Perfect, highlighting how the combination of supportive parents and professional help can give autistic children the freedom to do things independently. UAE short film Ba’ad Alzhan (To Mistrust) by Naser Al Yaqoobi educates the audience on the moral of trust, while Abdullah Al-Ramsi documents the conversations that take place On the Road in his short film.

Filmmaker Heba Abu Musaed’s Nafaq describes the struggle of a woman trying to erase the memory of abuse and extortion from her mind. UAE-based Japanese filmmaker Shoko Okurano documents the simple yet unique life of an Emirati-Japanese couple who live in the desert in A Sketch of a Life in the UAE – Saif and Minako.

Taha Karimi’s Kowestani Sepi (White Mountains) describes the life of Faqi Ibrahim and his experiences with the political parties founded in the mountainous region between Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, in a political tale with a personal twist. AlMawat Sharqa (Death Eastward), directed by Bahaa Alkadimy, portrays the kidnapping of British journalist, who is taken aboard an abandoned ship. A woman empathizes with his situation and helps him by providing him with food. Ahmed Al Sabaiei’s Haqiqa Wa Hum (Truth of Illusion) tells the tale of Ahmed and his search for his lost beloved, when he meets with a wearied man who teaches him how to face his struggles.

Iraqi director, Mohamed Al-Daradji narrates about the rediscovery of Iraq amidst a battle of his own to find love and peace in a country that is still being divided amongst itself in Al Iraq: Harib, Hub, Rab, Wa Junoon (Iraq: War, Love, God, and Madness). In Son of Babylon, a Dubai Film Connection 2007 project, Al-Daradji depicts the journey of a young boy and his grandmother across Iraq in search of their missing loved one, a former political prisoner.  Ahlaam by Al-Daradji won the first prize for feature at GFF 2008.

A tribute to the legendary actor Khalil Shawki is depicted in Koutaiba Al Janabi’s, Khalil Shawki: Al Rajul Al Lazi La Ya’rif Al Sukoon (Khalil Shawki: The Ever Restless Man).

Thieab Al Dossary’s animated short film, Tayeb Altalif (Harmony by Distress) explores the attitudes about prejudice and segregation and the symbolism that surrounds the many shades of discrimination. Director Abdulmuhsin Almutairi narrates the story of a woman and the problems she has with her brother as a result of various family matters in AlKenaa (The Mask). A man comes to life after his burial when one of his killers leaves the door open in Jari Tajmeel (Loading) directed by Hanna Saleh Al Fassi.

Anggi Makki’s Raksa Motaghameda (Frozen Dance) is the inspiring story of a young man who trains to win a marathon so that he can cure his ill father. In a touching portrayal of children, Mousa Thunayan’s Al Asfour Al Azrak (Blue Bird) depicts the determined struggle of a handicapped boy who has been separated from his wheelchair. A family man risks his life by jumping from the tallest wall in the world to provide his ill daughter with medication, in Jasim Ali Oqaili’s Ta’er Al Faneek (The Phoenix Bird). La Yujad Siwa Bakaya Dajaj Makli Fi Al Salaja (There is only Leftovers of Fried Chicken in the Fridge) by Nawaf Almhanna gives us an insight into how the course of our lives can change in a few minutes.

The drama that arises within the mind of a person when confronting with his inner definition of reality forms the core of Omani filmmaker Abdullah AlBatashi’s Al Menaz. Al Nathed, by Mahmood Al Bimani narrates the process and charts the time management involved in the production of dates.

1 Babo, 1 Madeer (1 Babo, 1 Manager) directed by Kuwaiti filmmaker Laila Marafie, explains the story of an Indian tea boy and the experiences he faced working for his manager.

Taraneh Dokhtarane Bad (The Songs of Girls of the Wind) directed by Iranian filmmaker Bijan Zamanpira depicts the challenges faced by a woman in Kurdistan when she decides to become an actress.

Gulf Film Festival is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and is held in association with Dubai Studio City. More details on the festival are available online at


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