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The Royal Film Commission Jordan | Press release: Eight Projects Selected for Rawi’s Screenwriters Lab in Shobak (Jordan)

09/07/2017

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Eight Projects Selected for Rawi’s Screenwriters Lab in Shobak (Jordan)

 

Amman, 9 July 2017  

Eight aspiring Arab screenplay writers (Rawi’s Fellows) have made their way to the old, yet enchanting, town of Shobak, where the atmosphere can’t be more writer-friendly and thought-stimulating. Rawi’s fellows are meant to develop their stories under the mentorship of eight carefully selected and internationally accomplished screenplay writers (Creative Advisors). The aim is to help those writers tell their feature-length story in the most compelling way.  The serenity of the area along with the stirring significance of the location make this goal more reachable. The Royal Film Commission-Jordan (RFC) has organized for those Fellows and Advisors to work together intensively for five days from July 7th until July 11th, and prepared an ambiance strictly dedicated to screenplay writing. Montreal Hotel - owned by Jordan Heritage Revival Company in Shobak - is hosting the 13th edition of Rawi Screenwriters’ Lab.

 Ever since its launching in 2005, the Rawi Screenwriters' Lab has supported some of the most important new voices in Middle Eastern cinema. For its first 11 years, the lab was run in collaboration with Sundance Institute and is modeled on the Institute’s esteemed Screenwriters Lab. The lab has matured over the years to the extent that it became autonomously managed by the Royal Film Commission.

 The Creative Advisors for this year include Philip Parker (UK), Csaba Bollók (Hungary), Marco Dutra (Brazil), Kaouthar Ben Hania (Tunisia/France), Mohammad Hushki (Jordan), Karim Traidia (Algeria/Netherland), Milo Addica (USA), Nissar Modi (UK).

 The projects and participants of this year’s edition of Rawi are: “Nadia” by Ahmad Al-Daradji (Iraq); “The Last Summer” by Fadi Haddad (Jordan); “Every Day Is Your Last Funeral” by Ghassan Jaradat (Jordan); “Flower Men” by Hanaa Alfassi (KSA); “Club 534” by Christophe Nassif (Lebanon); “The Girl” by Said Zagha (Palestine); “Five Days of Grace” by Saleh Nass (Bahrain) and “Dead Dog” by Sarah Francis (Lebanon).

 George David, Managing Director of the RFC, precisely emphasizes the importance of the Lab describing it as “the ideal program for an Arab writer to take their script to the next level. Rawi has been, and continues to be, a door-opener for filmmakers in our region, unveiling their talent and narratives. Initiated in partnership with the Sundance Institute and modeled after their lab, Rawi continues to provide the same standard of film development support to this day. With an extremely potent selection of regional screenplays, and an impressive group of expert advisors from all over the world, we are confident that Rawi 2017 will yet again prove to be a pivotal milestone for some of this year’s most impactful Arab cinematic works towards their journey to audiences across the globe.” 

 Following is a brief about each Fellow and project of Rawi 2017.

 -      “Nadia” by Ahmad Al-Daradji 

 Baghdad rubbish collector incites the wrath of the local militia when he finds an American sex doll in the dump and starts renting her out to the young men of Sadr City.

 Ahmad Al-Daradji has established the Iraqi Mobile Film Festival and the Independent Film Centre. His film, “Children of God” toured various festivals and won multiple awards. His most recent project, “Stray”, a London-based short, begins its festivals journey this summer. Al-Daradji recently launched The London Arab Film Festival and Arab Film club to commence in 2018-2019. It is the first in the UK and will promote the best contemporary Arab films providing insights into the beauty, complexity and diversity of the Arab world in London Cinema's. Nadia will be Al-Daradji’s debut feature as writer-director. ­­

-      “The Last Summer” by Fadi Haddad

Before the end of summer, Nadim must do everything to join the scout camp he was excluded from. But when a mysterious stranger shows up in the village, doing the right thing becomes a dilemma.

 Fadi Haddad has worked as a director, writer, editor and creative producer for several short and feature-length films that were selected and won awards in international film festivals. His debut feature film, “When Monaliza Smiled”, premiered in Dubai International Film Festival in 2012 and was released in Jordanian cinemas. It also won the Critics’ Choice Award in Oran Arab Film Festival in 2013.  

 -      “Every Day is your Funeral” by Ghassan Jaradat

 After Salem Ghanem misses the funeral of his beloved mother, he loses his mind and believes she is alive hiding somewhere.

 Ghassan Jaradat is a director and a screenwriter based in Amman, Jordan. In 2017, he has received the prestigious grant from the Doha Film Institute for the German-Jordanian co-production “The Key”, which he wrote and will direct. He also was nominated for the Robert Bosch film prize in that year.

 -      “Flower Men” by Hanaa Alfassi

 A curious photojournalist in a hostile remote Saudi village finds himself under suspicion when the son of the Sheik is murdered.

 Hanaa Alfassi is a passionate and prolific filmmaker who currently creates and resides in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in Mass Communication & Media Studies from Ain Shams University and her M.A. in Film & Media Production from New York Film Academy. Recently, she got partly funded by ENJAAZ Dubai Film Festival 2016 for her new short film “Lollipop” and currently in pre-production.

 -      “Club 534”  by Christophe Nassif

 The film tells us the story of Nabil, a French-Lebanese gay man who, on his first trip to Lebanon to search for his roots, gets locked up by the police and must stand up against accusations of homosexuality.

 Born in Monaco, a citizen of France and Lebanon, Christophe Nassif obtained a B.S. in Industrial & Systems Engineering and a M.F.A. in Cinema-Television Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles. He was an Annenberg Fellow and a recipient of the Don Thompson Scholarship in Cinematic Arts and the Jack Nicholson Scholarship in Directing. He is currently developing his first feature film, Club 534

 -      “The Girl” by Said Zagha

 A Palestinian security officer secretly investigates the disappearance of his teenage daughter amid political turmoil in the West Bank.

 Said Zagha is a Palestinian filmmaker from Ramallah. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in English and Film from Ohio’s Kenyon College in 2011. His debut narrative short film “Five Boys and A Wheel “premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival in December 2016, where it was nominated for a Muhr Short Award.

 -      “Five Days of Grace” by Saleh Nass

 Alaa is faced with a dilemma. He has only 5 days to make himself eligible for refugee status abroad or face a difficult existence in Beirut with the ever present threat of being deported back to Syria. With problems on every turn, will Alaa do anything to leave a city that has taken more refugees than it can host? 

Saleh Nass is a graduate of Television Production from Bournemouth Media School and current MA in Film from Raindance in the UK, his award-winning shorts “Game”, “Central Market” and “PickUp” were selected at over 50 festivals worldwide, which include the Slamdance Film Festival, Tampere Film Festival, the Montreal World Film Festival and Dresden International Film Festival in Germany. He’s also the editor of Bahrain’s first feature film in 10 years – “The Sleeping Tree” -  which made its Gala Premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2014.

-      “Dead Dog” by Sarah Francis

When Farid, a 60-year-old man living abroad visits Aida his wife for a few days in their Lebanese mountain house, he learns that Foxy their beloved dog had died a few months earlier and no one had told him about it. Tensions arise and Farid soon announces he is coming back home for good.

Sarah Francis grew up in Beirut and graduated from Université Saint Joseph. Since 2005, she has been working as a freelance director for many regional production companies, her first documentary Birds of September (2013) screened in many international festivals and museums including Dubai film festival, and won 5 awards. Her works include short videos: “Nawal’s Rituals” (Toukous Nawal), a video produced by Ashkal Alwan video works 2014; and “All the Temporary, Quick Notes on Home” (2016); in 2015 she received a development fund from Asian cinema fund to develop a new project.

 

For more information, please call: Marian Nakho, tel: 06-4642266/ Ext. 23
 

About The Royal Film Commission – Jordan: 

The Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFC) is a public institution, with administrative and financial autonomy, established in 2003 with a mandate to promote for and contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Jordanian audio-visual industry. The RFC organizes training workshops, screenings and provides production support services.

 

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