Two UAE filmmakers reach 'Small Screen Big Film' festival shortlist

New smartphone film competition is a British Council initiative across the GCC

Two UAE filmmakers have made it to the shortlist for the first ever Small Screen, Big Film festival, which will feature twelve short films created on smartphones by young people across the GCC. The festival takes place via the British Council's YouTube channel between April 24 and May 4, when all 12 shortlisted works can be viewed across the globe.

Ruba Badwan (Layered Memories) and Matthew Tan (Fata Morgana) join a further 10 filmmakers from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. At the end of the festival, four smartphone filmmakers will be chosen, through a combination of YouTube likes and the jury's own input, for a one-to-one mentorship programme with a British filmmaker, courtesy of the London Film School, to take place in the UAE.

The Small Screen, Big Film jury, who also selected the shortlist, is comprised of renowned industry professionals including Emirati filmmaker Nahla Al Fahad (The Tainted Veil); Emirati director Abdulla Al Kaabi (Only Men Go to the Grave); award-winning British filmmaker, Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna); and English actress, director and writer, Alice Lowe (Prevenge, Sightseers).

Small Screen, Big Film is one of eight initiatives under the British Council's Culture and Sports programme, a three-year initiative aimed at promoting active participation in culture and sports to encourage greater youth engagement, teamwork, volunteering, female participation and leadership, diversity and inclusion.

Emirati filmmaker and jury Member, Abdulla Al Kaabi commented: "Film is a medium of self-expression and we saw some incredible viewpoints from a hugely diverse group of young people in the Gulf. What's unique about the Small Screen, Big Film festival is that all entries are created using smartphones. This not only made it easier for more young filmmakers to share their story, but also challenged their creativity to tell a story in three minutes or less…We're excited for the rest of the world to be able to view them this April."

Rehana Mughal, senior programme manager, culture and sport at The British Council, commented: '[Small Screen, Big Film] aims to tap into the limitless potential of young people and give them resources, guidance and a platform to share their perspective with the world. Over the coming months we will develop more user-friendly resources to help more young people get into filmmaking.'

The 12 shortlisted, three-minute smartphone films will be screened online through the British Council's YouTube platform from April 24th – May 4th. Fans of film are encouraged to join the festival and vote for their favourites over the coming weeks.


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