Eight Projects Selected for Rawi’s Screenwriters Lab
in Shobak (Jordan)
13 November 2016
In the serenity of the south,
against the breathtaking backdrop of Shobak’s castle, eight regional screenplay
talents (Rawi’s Fellows) bond with eight internationally accomplished
screenwriters (Rawi's Creative Advisors.) The aim is to re-write and the
ultimate goal is to give the feature-length scripts what is needed for their
visual journey. The Royal Film Commission - Jordan (RFC) has organized for
those Fellows and Advisors to work together intensively for five days from
November 13th until 17th, strictly dedicated to screenplay writing. Montreal
Hotel - owned by Jordan Heritage Revival Company in Shobak - is hosting the
12th edition of Rawi Screenwriters’ Lab.
Since its inception 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. This year, and for the first time, the
Lab is run autonomously by the Royal Film Commission.
The Creative Advisors for this
year include Bernd Lichtenberg (Germany), Csaba Bollók (Hungary), Jim Jermanok
(USA), Martin Duffy (Ireland and Germany), Naji Abu Nowar (Jordan), Phil Parker
(UK), Suha Arraf (Palestine) and Sarah Kernochan (USA).
Abu Nowar, who directed Academy
Award’s nominated “Theeb” and who attended the first Rawi Screenwriters’
Lab in 2005, said: “Rawi changed my life. The advisors in the lab
opened my eyes to the craft of screenwriting in a way that fundamentally
changed my approach to the art form; both professionally and personally. If we
want to build a healthy prosperous Middle East film industry, it must start
with the screenwriters. Rawi is an important initiative in that respect.
I am proud to be a Rawi Alumni and I am dedicated to supporting the
future of the Lab and the next generations of Fellows."
The projects and participants
of this year’s edition of Rawi are: “The Bird’s Window” by Ahmad Saleh
(Jordan); “Tourne Cheri” by Charlotte Rabate (Syria); “By
the Cave” by Mariam Salim (Iraq); “A Road To Damascus” by
Meedo Taha (Lebanon); “Roman Ruins” by Meryam Joobeur (Tunis); “Shadi
and I” by Nadine Salib (Egypt); “The Balcony of Paradise” by
Samar Azzeh and Amr Abdelhadi (Jordan) and “You will Die in Twenties” by
Yousuf Ibrahim (Sudan).
George David, the Royal Film Commission – Jordan’s (RFC)
Managing Director dubbed the lab as “One of RFC’s signature regional training
programs. Rawi plays a pivotal role in unveiling the regions’ exceptional
talents and narratives. It presents its fellows with once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity that includes understanding what a screenplay writer undergoes to
reach a stage in development where the script is ready for filming. We hope
2016’s fellows will use the knowledge and tools acquired through the lab to
tell stories conveying a reality often different from the world’s perception of
Following is a brief about each
Fellow and project of Rawi 2016.
to Damascus by Meedo Taha
When a reclusive botanist witnesses a political murder on the
road between Beirut and Damascus, he goes on a secret hunt for the killer, who
has trampled the only living thing he values: his dying acacia tree.
Meedo Taha Inspired by the absurdity of beautiful
things, Taha wears several hats: filmmaker, architect, father and
occasional shade tree philosopher. Rather than wage war, his personas have
joined forces to craft “A Road to Damascus”, his first actual novel.
By the Cave by Mariam
A fairy tale and coming-of-age story on the opposites tradition
and progress, sense of community and individualism.
Mariam Salim’s passion for film started while
in elementary school; making stop motion videos, writing and directing school
plays. In 2009 and 2010, her team won the best theatrical show in University
for two plays she made consecutively. After graduation, Salim enrolled in few
filmmaking, and screenwriting labs. She was an assistant director/producer for
three short filmShe believes in conveying a message through entertainment and
Roman Ruins by Meryam
Hawa, a young Tunisian woman, secretly joins the Kurdish
Resistance Army after developing a close bond with a young Kurdish woman named
Ara. The latter pushes Hawa to question her life and desires and the two become
inseparable in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Northern Syria. When
Ara is killed in battle, Hawa returns to Tunisia badly injured and in her grief
struggles to find the strength to heal and end a traditional wedding she does
Meryam Joobeur is a Tunisian filmmaker based
in Montréal, Canada. She is a graduate of Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
in Montréal. Her first documentary ‘Gods, Weeds & Revolutions’ (2012)
exploring memory through Alzheimer’s and the Tunisian revolution was screened
internationally, winning multiple awards including ‘Best Canadian Documentary’
at the DOXA international Documentary Festival. Joobeur has participated in the
Producer’s Network of the Carthage International Film Festival, Berlinale
Talent Lab, and Toronto International Film Festival ‘sTalent Lab.
Shadi and I by Nadine
Things are true if you believe them to be so. But what would
happen if the dreams escaped their mental prison and were unleashed onto the
Nadine Salib In 2006, Nadine graduated with a BFA in
Film studies from the IAMS in Cairo. Salib worked closely with renowned
Egyptian filmmakers like Ibrahim El-Batout and Tamer El said. In 2012, she
directed her first short documentary ‘Fagr’ or ‘Dawn’, which won the second
prize in the Arab Women Filmmakers competition in the Baghdad International
Film Festival and the 1st prize in the 12th Goethe independent Film Festival in
Egypt. ‘Um Ghayeb’, or ‘Mother of the Unborn’ is her first feature-length
documentary, it premiered in the International Documentary Film Festival
Amsterdam( IDFA) 2014, and won the Peter Wintonick Special Jury Award for First
Appearance competition, it also won the FIPRESCI for best documentary in Abu
Dhabi Film Festival 2014.
The Balcony of Paradise
by Samar Al Azzeh and Amr Abdelhadi
Where society rules, a lonely spinster chooses an alliance with
the demon to escape to her paradise.
Samar Al Azzeh & Amr Abdelhadi
graduated from Yarmouk University-Jordan, with a BA in TV and Film production
in 2003. Abdelhadi started his career as a Promotion Producer and Al Azzeh went on to edit TV programs and documentary films.
Together they co-wrote a short drama/thriller "Familial Fever" in
which Abdelhadi was the director and Al Azzeh was the producer. "Familial
Fever" was nominated for the international competition at Locarno Film
Festival 2012 and won the FIPRESCI Prize at Dubai Film Festival in the same
The Bird’s Window by
A very long journey of a sleepless man
searching for his home.
Saleh is a writer and director based in
Germany and Jordan. His first venture in writing was a collection of short
stories titled Zowwada, which was awarded the Qattan’s Young Writers Award in
Palestine in 2008. His first short film, House, which he made
in 2012 while studying the Digital Media Master’s course at the University of
the Arts in Bremen, received several important awards. From 2013 to 2016, Saleh
completed a second master’s course at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, during
which he wrote and directed two short films and began writing his first
feature. His graduation project Ayny won the Gold Medal Oscar at the 2016
Student Academy Awards, in the Foreign Animation category.
Tourne Cheri by
Syria 1965: When Samir, 14 years old,
and his Christian family escape to Lebanon due to political tensions, he meets
his first love, Christine, and discovers a family secret. Unforeseen
circumstances involving Christine’s parents threaten his life as well as his
Charlotte Rabate’s career started when she shot a clip that went viral
with over one million views and won numerous awards including the AICP award,
the Porsche Award and was nominated for a Young Director Award (Cannes' Lions).
Rabate is a French writer/director with Syrian and Lebanese origins based in
New York. She holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and a MFA in
Filmmaking from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has directed numerous fashion
films with prestigious designers. Her short film Lucille in the Sky premiered
at the Edinburgh Film Festival where it received a Special Mention. Her latest
short film Son of Samila, won the Amazing Thai Film Challenge and premiered on
NOWNESS. Her films have premiered at Cannes, Sundance, Venice and Clermont
Ferrand film festivals.
You Will Die in Twenties
by Yousef Ibrahim
In Sudan in 1960, Mozamel was born with
a prophecy that everyone believed in: he will die in his twenties.
Mozamel also believed it until an old man showed up with a new vision of life.
Yousef Ibrahim is an Emirati screenwriter and
short story author. He writes screenplays for both TV and films. He wrote two
long feature films and more than 10 shorts.
information, please call: Marian Nakho, tel: 06-4642266/ Ext. 23