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Palestinian short film The Present wins Bafta

British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi has won this year’s Bafta for best short film [Youtube]
British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi has won this year’s Bafta for best short film [Youtube]

British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi has won this year's Bafta for best short film. Nabulsi's film The Present is set in the occupied West Bank.

She accepted the award online during the 74th annual British Academy Film Awards ceremony streamed from London's Royal Albert Hall. This year's event was spread over two evenings to accommodate Covid-19 guidelines.

In her acceptance speech, Nabulsi dedicated the award to "the people of Palestine for whom freedom and equality are long, long overdue."

The film, co-written by Palestinian filmmaker and poet Hind Shoufani, was shot over six days in the occupied Palestinian territories. Released on 2 February last year, it was Nabulsi's directorial debut.

The Present is a powerful 20-minute film about a Palestinian man, Yusef, played by Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, who wants to surprise his wife by buying her a new fridge as an anniversary gift. He takes the couple's young daughter, Yasmine, shopping to collect it. However, they first have to negotiate an Israeli military checkpoint near their home…

The news of the film's Bafta was celebrated online, with a wave of tweets congratulating Nabulsi and her team. Pioneering Palestinian politician Dr Hanan Ashrawi sent Nabulsi her own congratulation on her achievement.

Nabulsi herself tweeted later: "Absolutely blown away!!! A BAFTA!!!"

The Present has also been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film at the 2021 Oscars, which are set to take place on 26 April.

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