Bahrain film shortlisted for Cannes fest
Manama, May 19, 2011
A Bahraini filmmaker's first production has been shortlisted for the famous Cannes Film Festival.
Osama Al Saif said he was still reeling with the news, which follows on from his success at last month's fourth Gulf Film Festival (GFF).
His debut film Lulwa, which focuses on the issue of sexual harassment in the Gulf during the 1970s and 1980s, was selected from 11 entries from Bahrain to take part in the Dubai event.
It has now been selected to be part of the annual Cannes festival and the filmmaker plans to enter as many events as possible to project Bahrain's culture, history and traditions onto the European film scene.
'I was so shocked when it was selected, and while this year my film is in the Short Film Corner, next year I want to try to get it into the official competition at Cannes,' said Al Saif.
The Short Film Corner, which continues until Saturday, is a meeting ground for short filmmakers from around the world to present their movies, network with industry leaders and develop their careers through workshops and conferences.
Shortlisted films featured can be accessed by all festival-goers, programmers and buyers and filmmakers receive access to select databases and screening rooms in addition to Cannes accreditations.
The film director feels like he is on the right track in getting Bahrain's name out in the film industry.
'I think I'm moving in the right direction and plan to go to more festivals, this year Dubai and Cannes, next year will be Spain and hopefully I can get more international attention on Bahrain,' said Al Saif.
'By entering these festivals I have gained more experience and a lot more feedback.
'I have learned what judges are looking for, their perspective on films and where I can improve.
'The international film scene wants to see more of our culture, our traditions, and how we live.
'The places that we shot in Lulwa were therefore very interesting to them, such as the old houses, the villages and the different scenery.
'Films like this capture the audience more abroad because in the Gulf region they are used to such scenes and ideas, but abroad such as in Europe they are not.'
Al Saif's film tells the story of the glamorous Lulwa, who is harassed by her uncle as well as by a leading community figure.
It focuses on the repercussions within her family and the reactions of the community at large as the wrong people are implicated.
Al Saif feels that international festivals are the perfect platform to represent Bahrain.
'I plan to go to many more, and am working on another idea with fewer scripts, but I really want to represent Bahrain more,' he said.-TradeArabia News Service