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A scene from Syrian film ‘I Exist’

Bahrain film festival aims to promote unity

MANAMA, March 5, 2015

Short films and documentaries from more than 20 countries will be screened in Bahrain as part of a festival that aims to overcome sectarian tensions.

The Bahrain International Unity Film Festival aims to provide a platform for local directors to showcase their work, and will also feature acclaimed works by international filmmakers, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The second edition of the festival is being organised by the Bahrain Youth Society (Al Shabiba) and will be held during the first week of May at the Alumni Club.

It will feature screenings of films from different genres including politics, human rights, women empowerment and comedy, along with workshops on scriptwriting and using cinema as a tool to unite people.

“We want to unite people through the medium of cinema by screening some of the best short films and documentaries during this week-long festival in Bahrain,” said festival organiser Hussain Al Oraibi.

“There will be over 70 films that will be screened throughout the week featuring works of acclaimed filmmakers from Spain, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, China, France, Germany and other countries.”

Internationally acclaimed Kurdish director Sahim Omar Kalifa's film Bad Hunter will be screened at the festival, along with I Exist directed by Ahmed Abdelnaser.

The first production is about a young man named Bahoz, who witnesses the rape of a woman and helps her conceal the attack from her family, while the latter is a 10-minute film about the plight of Syrian children in displaced camps.

Two films by Iranian director Ali Asgari - More Than Two Hours and The Baby - will also be screened.

‘More Than Two Hours’ tells the story of a boy and a girl wandering in Tehran at midnight in search of a hospital, and the problems they face in getting treatment.

‘The Baby’ is about a young university student in Tehran and her friend, who desperately tries to find someone to care for the baby she had in secret while her parents visit.

Al Oraibi said female Saudi director Shahad Ameen's film Eye and Mermaid will also be featured in festival.

Her film is about a fisherman's daughter, Hanan, who looks up to her father and wants to go out to sea but is not allowed because of customs and traditions.

A panel of judges will select the top Bahraini filmmakers for three cash prizes, worth BD1,000 ($2,638) each, to fund their future productions, along with awards for the best international films.

Al Oraibi said 20 films directed by Bahrainis during the last year will also be short-listed for different awards.

“Our team of juries selected a wide range of films, which we feel will highlight important causes and bring people together,” he added.

He said the festival's premiere will include a screening of last year's winning film ‘Flight 072’ by Bahraini Mohammed Al Sagar.

The documentary, about the 2003 Gulf Air crash, features interviews with families of some of the 143 passengers and crew who died in the crash.

The last date for submission of films is March 31. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | festival | film | unity | short |

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