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A brief about the participating projects and fellows of Rawi 2019.


“40 Years and One Night” by Bashayer Abdulaziz Alsomali and Mohammed Alholayyil (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

On the eve of Eid Al-Fitr holiday, six Saudi siblings discover a secret that makes their family issues look more like an end of a battle and the beginning of a war.

Bashayer Abdulaziz Alsomali is a screenwriter for film and television and a film editor, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her scripts “A Thousand Years” and “Cold”, are a Saudi Film Festival (2017) official selection. She co-wrote two drama TV shows; “Bashar” and Dune”. Bashayer has been a script and idea consultant for over two years, and is currently working on writing her first solo feature film, “Prophecy of an Equilibrium”.


Mohammed Alholayyil is a writer and director born in Saudi Arabia. His films have traveled around the world to international film festivals winning several awards such as his short film “Matoor (Engine)” winning the best short film award at the Beirut International Film Festival in 2017, and his subsequent short film “300 Kilometer” winning the best-short-film-award at The Dubai International Film Festival in 2018.

Most notably, he’s shown his films at the Saudi Film Days in Los Angeles, and the Arab World Institute in Paris, France, and the Tangier International Film Festival.


“Abu Bassam” by Mohammad (Mike) Elsherif (Palestine/Kuwait)

The sudden reappearance of a family member thought to be dead spurs an immigrant mother and son to renovate their struggling restaurant before their property falls into foreclosure.  The family’s reunification is threatened by the changing immigration landscape in America following the 9/11 attacks.

Mohammad (Mike) Elsherif was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents and immigrated with his family to America following the Persian Gulf War. He studied filmmaking with a concentration in directing at the University of North Carolina - School of the Arts, where his thesis film, “Red Autumn”, was selected by numerous festivals, and his feature film debut, “City Strays”, was selected by multiple national festivals as well. His recent short film, The Reel, was selected for the Short Film Slam hosted by the Louisville Film Society. 


“Bulletproof” by Chamoun Issa (Lebanon)

A romance set in present-day Beirut, about a human rights lawyer who falls in love with the son of an arms dealer.

Chamoun Issa was born in Beirut during the civil war, and fled with his family to Sweden when he was 10. He studied directing at the UK’s National Film & Television School, where his graduation film “Bilingual” was selected for festivals around the world and won a couple of awards.

At the moment he is developing two new original feature films that are planned to go into production before the end of the year.


“Five Thieves” by Karim Ariqat and Mohammad Al-Nablsea (Jordan)

A team of Jordanian youth resort to theft in order to ease their financial struggles but things get complicated.

Karim Ariqat is a Jordanian actor and screenwriter. He has written for and acted with “Fooq Al-Sada” (Jordanian sketch show) and wrote “Jalta”, a Jordanian sitcom which aired in Ramadan on Ro’ya in 2018. Karim holds a Mechatronics Engineering degree. His real dream was to become a writer. He’s an avid movie watcher who after forming an improv comedy team in university he soon found his way to acting and writing with “Fooq Al-Sada”.

Mohammad Al-Nablsea is a storyteller from Amman. He first started writing school plays and short stories, then he moved to stand-up comedy routines and sketch comedy. Writing became a career after he began writing for “Fooq Al-Sada” (Jordanian sketch show) in 2015 and then other shows like “Tashweesh Wadeh” (political satire show), “Whales of the Dead Sea” (political drama), and “Jalta” (sitcom). Since 2016, he’s also been writing and producing at JWT, an advertising agency in Amman.

“I Am Here but You Can’t See Me” by Feyrouz Serhal

Once upon a time in a film there was a city called Beirut, in that city Viola lived, she sang songs and killed corrupt politicians.

Feyrouz Serhal acquired her Master’s degree in Film and Screen Studies at Goldsmiths College University of London in 2009, after having worked extensively as director and a creative producer at some of the most prominent Arab TV channels in the Middle East.  She has written and directed several independent short video works, her last short narrative film “TSHWEESH” premiered at the prestigious Locarno International Film Festival in 2017.

“Landslide” by May Al-Ghouti 

A teenager finds himself in a middle of a sexual identity crisis. After being kicked out from his parents’ house and expelled from school, he meets a girl with a bad reputation to help him find his true self.

May Al-Ghouti is from Amman, Jordan. She completed English literature and German studies at the University of Jordan, then opted for a Master’s degree in Human resources in Oxford Brooks University, UK. She later graduated with two diplomas from SAE institute in filmmaking studies, and worked on a few short school and local projects. She has a self-published novella “The Womb”, a dark psychological fantasy that can be found on Amazon, and she just finished her second book “Miranda Moments”.

“Madness” by Hicham Amal

A prestigious university professor living in Canada, returns to Morocco to spend his holidays. The night he arrives, he discovers that his mother and his sister were arrested in a supermarket, for shoplifting.

Hicham Amal is a Moroccan movie director who started his career as a screenwriter for national television networks. He wrote many teleplays in which he collaborated with directors such as such Mohamed Nesrat and Abdellah El Yazani in works that were produced by Nabil Ayouch. In 2016, he produced and directed his first feature length film “The Morphine Melody” which was selected in the official competition at Dubai International Film Festival, and won two prizes (Best editing & Best First Feature) at the National Film Festival in Tangiers.