The first edition of “Small Screen, Big Film” is almost here, a new smartphone film competition launched by the British Council featuring twelve short films created by youth across the Gulf region and Gulf nationals living in the United Kingdom. The festival will take place from April 24 to May 4 via the British Council’s YouTube channel, and all 12 shortlisted works can be viewed by anyone anywhere across the globe.
Three short films from Saudi Arabia have been selected to screen: “Do it” by Eman Aldweikh; “Fake Life” by Abdullah Zia; and “The Taxi Driver” by Faisal Musa. From the United Arab Emirates, two filmmakers made it to the shortlist, as well as others from Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.
Four standout smartphone filmmakers will be chosen at the end of the festival, through a combination of YouTube likes and the jury’s own input, for a one-to-one mentorship program with a British filmmaker, courtesy of the London Film School, to take place in the UAE.
According to The National, the festival jury, which also selected the shortlist, comprises renowned industry professionals including Emirati filmmaker Nahla Al Fahad, known for “The Tainted Veil”; Emirati director Abdulla Al Kaabi, known for “Only Men Go to the Grave”; award-winning British filmmaker, Asif Kapadia; and English actress, director and writer, Alice Lowe.
With regards to this one-of-a-kind festival, Al Kaabi was quoted by Arab News saying that “film is a medium of self-expression and we saw some incredible viewpoints from a hugely diverse group of young people in the Gulf. What’s unique about the ‘Small Screen, Big Film’ Festival is that all entries are created using smartphones. This not only made it easier for more young filmmakers to share their story, but also challenged their creativity to tell a story in three minutes or less.”
A new platform for young and aspiring filmmakers in the Gulf, “Small Screen, Big Film” is one of eight initiatives under the British Council’s Culture and Sports program, a three-year initiative aimed at promoting active participation in culture and sports, in order to encourage greater youth engagement, team work, volunteering, female participation and leadership, diversity, and inclusion.