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8 Arab films selected for Palm Springs Film Festival

June 9, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Artistic director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival Liliana Rodriguez speaks at the Closing Night Screening of “Military Wives” at the 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on January 12, 2020 in Palm Springs, California. [Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival]

Eight films shot by Arab producers have been short listed for awards at the Palms Springs ShortFest film festival later this month, the Arab Cinema Centre has announced.

The eight films were produced by filmmakers from Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. They cover a variety of issues including the difficulties of living in the occupied West Bank, mental health and religion as well as supernatural phenomena and aliens.

The Middle Eastern filmmakers’ short pieces have received nominations in a range of categories including ‘Best of the Festival’, ‘Best live-action short over 15 minutes’ and ‘Best international short’.

One film, Farah Nabulsi’s ‘The Present’, has received a nomination for the ‘Bridging borders award’ for the depiction of life in the West Bank. Nabulsi’s short film follows a Palestinian man called Yusef, accompanied by his daughter, Yasmine, trying to buy a gift for his wife on their wedding anniversary.

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Another, ‘Give Up the Ghost’ by Jordanian filmmaker Zain Duraie, follows the life of Salam whose marriage falls apart after she discovers she cannot have children. Duraie’s piece has been nominated in the ‘Best live-action short over 15 minutes” category.

Egyptian filmmaker, Morad Mostafa, has been nominated in the same category for his story about Halima and her young daughter Ward’s experience helping to prepare a bride for her wedding in Giza.

Most of the nominations are set to be screened online from the Palms Springs film festival website from 16-22 June, during the ‘Forum’. A series of online classes and panels will run concurrently.

The films will be judged by a jury of three or four industry specialists with awards set to be announced on 21 June. Winners could receive cash prizes worth up to $25,000, according to the festival’s website.

In previous years, the festival has taken place in California and has been the largest short film festival in the US, welcoming approximately 135,000 attendees.

The ShortFest event, which is a subsidiary of the Palm Springs International Film Festival that takes place in January every year, normally screens more than 350 short films.

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