Final six selected for AFS documentaries programme

Aspiring filmmakers revealed for documentaries arm of Arab Film Studio 2015
The six budding filmmakers for 2015's edition.
The six budding filmmakers for 2015's edition.

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Six budding filmmakers have been selected to take part in the second Arab Film Studio documentary programme.

The documentaries arm of the AFS programme - Image Nation’s amateur short film competition - was a huge success last year for its inaugural edition, with some participants going straight into film industry work upon completion of the course.

The films produced by the culmination of last year's programme have received critical acclaim, with the participants’ work continuing to be showcased at film festivals all over the world.

Three of 2014's candidates - Farah Diab, Tanya Daoud and eventual winner Amena Al Nowais – moved on to projects at Image Nation. Amena and Tanya are both working within Image Nation’s documentary department, while Farah is undertaking an internship on a feature film project.

The competition returned last week for its second year with the aim to tap undiscovered talent and give aspiring filmmakers the tools they need to carve out a career in the industry.

This year’s participants are: Hind Abdullah, 23, and Nour Al Harmoodi, 22, both Emirati; Arkus, 29, from India; Alawi Shareef, 24, from Comoros; Rana Mohammad, 22, from Egypt; and Mohammad Sakkijha, 27, from Jordan.

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, commented: “The UAE film industry is growing and it’s important that we equip our young talent with the expertise to become the great filmmakers of the future. We received an overwhelming number of submissions this year, and I think the overall calibre of this year’s participants is the best we’ve seen so far.”

The 20-week AFS Docs course, which was created in association with twofour54 and Anasy Media Productions, focuses specifically on the non-fiction field of production. It has three phases and is designed to give participants a 360-degree insight into the lifecycle of a film project.

The course includes practical demonstrations, screenings and roundtable discussions. The goal is to equip the students with skills such as research, pre-production, budgeting, writing, interviewing and editing – all necessary tools for producing a documentary film.

The programme features teaching and masterclasses from some of the industry’s biggest names locally and internationally, including the BAFTA-Award winner Tom Roberts, who directed Image Nation’s critically acclaimed documentary 'Every Last Child', about the efforts to eradicate polio in Pakistan.

The Arab Film Studio programme began in 2012, originally as an amateur narrative filmmaking competition, but branched out into documentaries last year.

AFS Docs complements Image Nation’s growing documentary division, whose slate includes the high-profile feature documentary 'He named me Malala', directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim and set to release in UAE theatres later this year.

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