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.
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
- “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
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
- “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
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.
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