For Marcelle Al Eid, Abu Dhabi is the gift that keeps on giving. Despite leaving the capital 18 months ago to settle in Canada, the author and filmmaker was drawn back to the city to celebrate the success of a pair of creative ventures. The first is her debut collection of Arabic short stories, which was launched at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair this month.
Titled Min Huna (From Here), the book is full of tales inspired by Al Eid's time living in the capital, where she worked with the Abu Dhabi Film Commission and as a project director for Iftah Ya Simsim, the upcoming relaunched Arabic version of the educational TV series Sesame Street.
Al Eid also published the blog Marcelle.TV, to share her musings and short stories, some of which made it into Min Huna along with others written especially for the book.
“The stories discuss different things,” she says. “One deals with revolution in Syria, while others are based here [in the capital] and they are inspired by true experiences and stories that I heard from people.
“I came to Abu Dhabi when I was young and grew up here and also went to a public school here. It definitely played a very important role in my life and a lot of these stories are inspired by my time here.
"When a UAE publisher came on board to publish the book, I gave it the new title Min Huna to show how much this place means to me." Another of Al Eid's Abu Dhabi-inspired projects is also receiving international attention. Her short film A Letter screened at the Cannes film festival as part of its Short Film Corner.
Shot in an old school building in Mussaffah, and partly funded by the twofour54-based company Media Mania, the film deals with the fate of a kidnapping victim.
“It’s basically four minutes that shows what that man is thinking and how he is handling that pressure,” she says. “Whether he makes it or not, we don’t know.
“The producer, David Shepard, who is in Cannes, was telling me how people were asking him where the film’s story is based. I say the film is based wherever there is a war.”
Visit www.Marcelle.TV for more information about Min Huna and A Letter