Image Nation Abu Dhabi selected Hind Anabtawi, Mariam Al Awadhi and Salma Sherry as the winning filmmakers of the 2018 Arab Film Studio program at an awards ceremony on 11 December.
The 2018 edition of the flagship training initiative, now in its seventh year, saw 30 participants across the Documentary, Narrative, Scriptwriting and Young Filmmakers graduate program. Participants work with industry experts to develop professional-quality projects over several months, culminating in the annual awards.
Hind Anabtawi, who was awarded Best Film – Narrative for ‘Moderately Satisfied’, a 10-minute film about an estranged daughter who must face truths about her relationship with her dying mother, said: “The Narrative program lasted almost a year and it’s so exciting to finally screen my film. I’m very happy to share this win with the crew, cast and my family. Thank you to Image Nation and Arab Film Studio for giving me this opportunity – I’m so grateful for the mentors and every person who was part of my journey.”
The Best Film – Documentary award went to Mariam Al Awadhi for ‘Mum’, a documentary in which a girl voices her emotions regarding her non Emirati-mother, and the uneasiness she felt about her mixed background. She said: “I had basic knowledge of film-making and Arab Film Studio helped me a lot to grow my experience – coming up with ideas for my film, how to research it and produce it. I’d like to say it’s never too late to go on and do what you love, so start today and write your story.”
Hind Anabtawi and Mariam Al Awadhi win the ultimate internship with Image Nation, working in their respective departments to hone their talent and professional skills on world-class upcoming projects.
Scriptwriting program participant Salma Sherry was awarded the Best Script for ‘Aida Wants Gelatti’. Salma Sherry, who wins a 100,000 AED production grant to make her script a reality, said: “It’s been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot from our mentors. It was an intense program, extremely enjoyable and really inspiring. I’m so excited and thankful that I’ll be able to bring my script to life and tell this story with the Arab Film Studio grant.”
The judging panel of industry experts and filmmakers included Khalid Al Mahmoud, Jeff Stockwell and Louay Khraish for AFS Scriptwriting, Nawaf Al Janahi, Majid Alansari, HH Sheikha Alyazia Al Nahyan and Academy Award nominee Scandar Copti for Narrative and Documentary.
To date, over 120 emerging filmmakers have participated in Arab Film Studio, with many going on to impressive success in the field. Films created during the program have screened over 275 times at prestigious film festivals around the globe.
“Each year, the quality of projects created during Arab Film Studio is incredibly impressive. These young filmmakers are the next generation of our industry and it’s very gratifying to see the depth of talent and passion that they bring,” said Image Nation CEO Michael Garin. “The the region’s film and entertainment sector is evolving and becoming a significant driver of the creative economy. Arab Film Studio is a platform for rigorous training and reflects Image Nation’s commitment to meeting this need for homegrown professionals with world-class skills.”
Arab Film Studio was created by Image Nation in 2011 to develop UAE nationals’ and residents’ filmmaking skills, in furthering its mission to help create a sustainable film and television industry. There are now six individual training initiatives, two of which were launched earlier this year. This includes AFS Corporate which was created as a two-week intensive program for Emirati marketing and communications executives to educate them about developing media content for public diplomacy, digital, consumer awareness or internal communications. This month, AFS Storytelling was also launched in partnership with the US Embassy in UAE, in partnership with Film Independent, as an in-depth training course for scriptwriters.