For UAE filmmaker, six minutes at Cannes is a good start

Mohammed Mamdouh hopes his short film will turn heads towards his full-length project.

The six-minute film Halfway centres on a couple going through a rough period. Courtesy Mohammed Mamdouh
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The American University of Sharjah graduate Mohammed Mamdouh hopes his short film will turn heads towards his full-length project, writes Alex Ritman

Among the hundreds of titles jostling for attention at the Cannes Film Festival are nine shorts from students and former students of the American University of Sharjah, which are appearing as part of the event's Short Film Corner.

For Mohammed Mamdouh, who graduated from the university in January, the opportunity to be at Cannes offers an important boost to his next project, a full-length feature.

"If people are aware of your work then the next year, if you come back with a feature, it's going to leave a mark," he says.

Mamdouh's short, Halfway, is a six-minute drama with the Dubai-based actors Victoria Borasio and Ibrahim Renno, which was first screened as part of the Emirates Film Competition at last year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival. "It's a raw look at a couple who are navigating through an uncertain period in their life. They're unsure where they're heading and are looking for different things."

But it's the full-length follow-up - Moments of Fiction - that is the bigger prize, and Mamdouh is hoping interest in Halfway gives him a leg up when it is eventually released, hopefully later this year.

"The short film almost gives you a glimpse into what the feature is going to be," he says. "I shot them at the same time so the style is very similar. The story is different, but the cinematography, the pacing, all the aesthetics of the movie are similar."