News Column

Local short wins accolades in Rotterdam; documentary to compete in Dubai festival

December 6, 2013


Dec. 06--AMMAN -- Jordanian short film "Ismail" is scheduled to be screened in Istanbul later this month in and London in early 2014, riding on its recent success in Rotterdam's Arab Camera Film Festival.

The 28-minute short will be screened at the December 20-26 Rendez-vous Istanbul Film Festival, and at the London Short Film Festival between January 10 and 19, according to a statement issued by the production team.

In November, director Nora Alsharif won the top prize at the Arab Camera Film Festival in the Netherlands, with the jury calling her film "a chilling drama with character sketches that evoke [Federico] Fellini-like associations", in reference to the Italian director's style that blends fantasy and baroque images.

"The simple, but highly effectively narrated story is supported by trenchant visualisation. The acting by both actors [Khaled Al Ghwairi as Ismail and Nizar Idrees as his brother Jamal] is powerful and memorable," the jury said, according to the festival's website.

The film, screened and hailed at both the Doha Tribeca Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, depicts Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout's life as he was forced to leave his homeland in 1949.

The young Palestinian struggles to support his parents after their arrival at a refugee camp in the aftermath of the creation of Israel on Palestinian lands in 1948, but he holds on to his dream to go to Rome to learn painting.

"One day, and after selling cake at the train station with his little brother, [the two] heedlessly enter a minefield. As Ismail faces death, and in his struggle to save himself and his brother, we discover his true spirit," the film's official synopsis said.

The short was written by Hatem Alsharif and produced by Abdelsalam Akkad and Ana Moreno.

Meanwhile, another Jordanian film, the documentary "My Love Awaits Me by the Sea," is scheduled to have its regional debut at the 10th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), which opens on Friday and continues until December 14.

The 80-minute documentary, director Mais Darwazah's first feature film, is competing for the Muhr Arab Documentary Award, which recognise the Best Film, Special Jury Prize and Best Director, according to the DIFF website.

Produced by Darwazah and Rula Nasser, "My Love Awaits Me by the Sea" follows the director's journey as she returns to her home country -- Palestine, exploring it through the poems and drawings of Palestinian artist Hasan Hourani -- a lover she never met, according to the synopsis on the festival's website.

"Hourani drowned in the Jaffa Sea in 2003. The film explores the idea of escaping home, the need to believe in dreams and the Palestinians' persistence to hang on to their homeland, despite all the years of struggle," the summary said.

"This quest in search of hope, sets out to find a world of dreams within reality," the film's Facebook page said.

The documentary had its international debut at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival in September.


(c)2013 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan)

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