Amman, 30 November 2022
The 17th edition of Rawi Screenwriters Lab wrapped up today with the
participation of eight Arab screenplay writers (Rawi Fellows), who
worked intensively on developing their promising feature-length
screenplays over five days.
The Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFC) organized this year’s Lab
from the 25th until 30th of November at Wadi Feynan in the
southwestern edge of the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The lab’s
activities took place in a serene and inspiring ambiance, suitable
for creativity and dialogue at Feynan Ecolodge.
Earlier on, the RFC had launched an open call for feature-length
screenplays, from January until April, where 80 eligible
applications were received. A committee of Creative Consultants
carefully reviewed the submissions and selected the finalists after
detailed evaluations and interviews.
The Lab hosted eight prominent screenwriters (Rawi’s Creative
Advisors), from all around the world, to share their expertise and
work closely with the selected Arab screenwriters in order unleash
their utmost potential in screenplay writing.
Rawi’s Fellows and Advisors had intensive one-on-one meetings to
look into the screenplays and polish their plot in order to tell
stories in the most compelling way.
Mohannad Al-Bakri, the RFC’s Managing Director, commented on this
year’s Lab saying: “Rawi’s distinctiveness lies in empowering the
voices of Fellows as storytellers, rather than tackling technical
solutions within the craft. The stories emerge from the Fellows’
experiences and surroundings.” He added: “The diversity of gender,
background, filmmaking style and experience of the Creative Advisors
is essential. The sense of responsibility, generosity, and input of
Advisors towards Rawi’s Fellows are key factors to its success: we
are grateful to them and value their contribution.”
The Creative Advisors for this year included: Ahmed Amer (Egypt),
Bernd Lichtenberg (Germany), Juliano Dornelles (Brazil), Margaret
Glover (UK), Nadia Eliewat (Jordan), Sharon Doyle (USA), Tonia
Mishiali (Cyprus) and Yeşim Ustaoğlu (Turkey).
Juliano Dornelles, a filmmaker, production designer and screenwriter
shared his impressions saying: “It’s been a great adventure to come
here and meet with so many people to talk about cinema and learn
about the stories of this region, which were pleasantly diverse and
different, yet felt very familiar on the human level.”
While award-winning director Yeşim Ustaoğlu, who has participated at
Rawi as a Creative Advisor for the second time, added: “Being in a
deserted natural area teaches you so much and allows you to observe
life differently. The projects I worked with were diverse in many
aspects; the countries, stories, approaches, and levels but we all
understood each other very well; I believe I was able to help the
Fellows open up to new ideas and possibilities.”
Selected projects and fellows for this year’s edition of Rawi are:
“Red Bus in Baghdad” by Ali Saeed (Iraq), “The Common Land” by Firas
Taybeh (Jordan), “The Camp Beauty Queen” by Hanadi Elyan (Jordan),
“Loris” by Mohamed Samir (Egypt), “Drowning” by Mujtaba Saeed (Saudi
Arabia), “What’s Your Name” by Nour Almoujabber (Lebanon), “Mermaid
Avenue” by Sharon Hakim (Egypt), “Jesus of Palestine” by Sohail
About her participation in Rawi, Fellow Hanadi Elyan said: “All the
Creative Advisors were interested in helping me to make my project
work in my own way without imposing their opinions or styles. I also
found that watching the films of other Fellows and discussing them
Fellow Mujtaba Said also shared some of his thoughts on the Lab
saying: “The nature of the place and its isolation played a role in
the success of the Lab but curating a professional program and a
safe environment with freedom of expression had the greatest role.
Rawi is a unique and rich experience that I recommend to all Arab
writers and filmmakers.”
The Call for Applications for the upcoming round of Rawi
Screenwriters Lab will be open early 2023.