Bahrain's unity film festival to become annual
Manama, January 23, 2014
Organisers hope to make Bahrain's first unity film festival an annual celebration of local talents.
They plan to approach the Culture Ministry and Bahrain Cinema Company (Cineco) to have locally-produced films and documentaries shown across the country's big screens, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Thirty-five Bahraini films were screened at the National Unity Film Festival this week, which aimed to promote national unity and overcome sectarian tensions.
It was organised by the Bahrain Youth Society (Al Shabiba) at the Alumni Club in Adliya.
"The theme is important because we're going through political issues that are affecting the country's unity," said organiser and society media head Hussain Al Oraibi.
"It's important to do this through creative means because it's something we all watch and pay attention to.
"Our major success is that as a theme, people were excited about it and backed it up.
"We also brought Bahraini films in to speak about unity in different ways, different types of acceptance, freedom of speech and so on."
Al Oraibi said the first-time festival, which ended on Tuesday was a success.
"There are certain things that we are going to have to learn from, but now we know where our strengths and weaknesses are," he explained.
"We realised people didn't really know what was going on.
"Now that we've held one festival, I think people will want to take part a lot more in the coming years.
"I think the calibre of the films will increase and we'll perhaps start showing fewer films, but of a higher quality."
The festival offered three BD1,000 ($2,640) prizes to filmmakers Salman Yousif, Mohammed Alsagar and Ahmed Al Fardan to fund their productions.
The short-films included the tragic deaths of 143 passengers and crew on board a Gulf Air flight that crashed into the sea just off Muharraq on August 23, 2000 and how it unified the country.
"We will pay the expenses of the films, and the filmmakers have been told to finish the bulk of it in six months," said Al Oraibi.
"They will be screened at next year's festival, and they will have the freedom to submit it to any other festival as well."
The overall winners of this year's film festival were Mexican filmmaker Paola Villa Alvarez with Once, followed by Bahraini Salah Nass with Lu'uba (Game) and Ammar Al Kooheji with Sekoon. - TradeArabia News Service