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

14/11/2016

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 our region.”

 

Following is a brief about each Fellow and project of Rawi 2016.

 

-            A Road 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 Salim

 

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 symbolism.

 

-           Roman Ruins by Meryam Joobeur

 

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 not want. 

 

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 Salib

 

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 real world?

 

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 year.

 

-           The Bird’s Window by Ahmad Saleh

 

A very long journey of a sleepless man searching for his home.

 

Ahmad 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 Charlotte Rabate

 

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 family’s.

 

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. 

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