CineMAS 2022 will showcase short films from the United Arab Emirates alongside independent international gems

CineMAS – The Alternative Film Festival, will return to Manarat Al Saadiyat for its fourth season, this time with a program of short films made in the United Arab Emirates.

The annual event, known for showcasing the best in independent global cinema, will run from June 6-12. It will retain some curatorial elements from last year, including thematic double programs and a program dedicated to classical Arab cinema.

This year, however, short films will also be included in the program.

UAE Stories

A series of seven short films made in the United Arab Emirates will be the first screenings of the festival, during a free opening event on June 5. The titles explore the concepts of home, family, environment, community and belonging.

“The program focuses on films made in the United Arab Emirates by filmmakers of different nationalities and not just Emiratis,” explains Hind Mezaina, who is organizing the event for the second consecutive year.

“It’s important to see a diverse selection of films and the different types of stories that come out of here, and also to have a dedicated discussion about the filmmakers’ inspirations and the current state of cinema in the country. More than short films are made here than feature films, but they are not seen by enough people locally, so I also hope that we can discuss this and think of ways to show short films more often.

The titles that will be screened are those of Sarra’a Al Shehhi A little dream, by Rasha Amer Osha, by Mariam Alawadhi Momby Sarah Alhasimi Why is my grandfather’s bed in the living room? by Priscilla Elias Marasim, Chez Faisal Hashmi amberand Abdulrahman Al Madani The monster.

The opening

Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy acclaimed by critics feathers will be the first feature film screening at the festival, where it will mark its UAE premiere. The absurd black comedy tells the story of a housewife who must take care of her family after her husband, an overbearing father figure, is turned into a chicken by magicians at their son’s birthday party. four years.

“For me, it is important to open the festival with an Arab film, as we did last year,” says Mezaina. “The festival is about alternative and independent films and since our two main international film festivals, DIFF and ADFF, no longer exist, we would see a lot of Arab independent films, I hope this festival can play a little role in showing critically acclaimed independent Arab films, alongside international independent films as well.”

feathers won the Critics’ Week Grand Prix at Cannes in 2021 – the first Egyptian photo to win in this segment of the festival. More recently, it won Best Film, Director and Screenplay at the sixth annual Critics’ Awards for Arab Films, which took place in Cannes on May 22.

The screening just after feathers will be by Argentinian filmmaker Amalia Ulman The planet, a black comedy exploring poverty, female desire and the complex relationships between mothers and daughters. The two films were thematically paired under the title Family Matters.

The program

Each day will feature a themed selection of shorts alongside doubleheaders. Post-screening discussions with filmmakers will also take place.

“I wanted to stick to the format I created last year,” says Mezaina. “Both [feature] the films screened in succession have the same theme and dialogue with each other. I also wanted to include short films this year, and not as a separate program, but to be seen before a feature film. You don’t often see shorts on the big screen here, and it’s a way to support independent filmmakers who only make shorts.

Ayten Amin's 'Souad' focuses on how modern girls living outside Cairo cope with the pain and peril of adolescence.  Photo: Berlinale

The double bill format will also give the festival a more leisurely pace, Mezaina says. There will be no overlapping schedules so that visitors do not have to choose one film over another. “It will be more fun and rewarding to watch a double feature, to give them [the audience] an opportunity to experience cinema in a slightly different way,” says Mezaina.

“There is always a gap between each screening, time to go out for a bite to eat or a drink before the next film.”

Mezaina says part of the reason she picked up the double-billed thematic format was because of how it was received last year. However, rather than recycling the themes, Mezina drafted a “movie wishlist” and then began charting commonalities between the titles.

“We didn’t repeat the same themes,” she says. “Although I have kept Tribute to Arabic Classics because it is very rare that we see older Arabic films on the big screen here and for me it is important to remember or remind viewers that there is a history of cinema that we should always think about in the context of contemporary cinema.”

This year’s themes include Teens and Screens, Secrets and Lies on June 7, which features Egyptian filmmaker Ayten Amin Sudad with Indonesian director Kamila Andini Yuni.

Passage of Time on June 8 brings together the short film somewhere in time by Emirati filmmaker Nawaf Al Janahi with two feature films by Argentinian filmmaker Maria Alvarez: Lost time and Las Cinephilas.

Earth, Moon, Mars is the theme for June 9. The program brings together the documentary red sky by Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe with feature film To the Moon by Irish director Tadhg O’Sullivan. Short films March, Oman by Spanish director Vanessa del Campo and space woman by Lebanese-French filmmaker Hadi Moussally will also be screened under this theme.

On June 10, the theme is State of Mind and Place. Short film by Sudanese filmmaker Suzannah Mirghani virtual voice will kick off the day, followed by three feature films — Norwegian director Truls Krane Meby Katja dreams of waking upby Italian director Elia Romanelli Venice Elsewhere and the documentary Bunker by American filmmaker Jenny Perlin.

In 'Don't Get Too Comfortable', filmmaker Shaima Al-Tamimi shares an introspective letter to her late grandfather, reflecting on her ancestral migratory journey and challenging the ongoing pattern of movement among diaspora Yemenis.  Photo: CineMAS - The Alternative Film Festival

Art, Music and Counterculture is the theme for June 11. Three short films by artists from the United Arab Emirates will open the day’s programme, followed by An evening with Laila by Kuwaiti filmmaker Haya Alghanim, Before the death of light by Moroccan director Ali Essafi, another short film by Mirghani titled Disco Italo and finally, Love, Deutschmarks and Death by Turkish-German director Cem Kaya.

The last day of the festival is divided into two thematic programs. The first is a tribute to classic Arab cinema, with highlights from two Lebanese greats, including Beirut, The Meeting by Borhane Alaouie and Once upon a time Beirut by Jocelyn Saab.

The second is organized under the theme Family Archives. It includes American filmmaker Ricky D’Ambrose Cathedral and the short film by Yemeni-Kenyan director Shaima Al-Tamimi Don’t get too comfortable. by Iranian filmmaker Firouzeh Khosrovani X-ray of a family will be the closing film of the festival.

Tickets start at Dh30 for a day pass. A Dh150 all-access pass is also available. More information is available at cinemas2022.com

Updated: May 31, 2022, 08:14

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