Abu Dhabi, UAE - October 20, 2021: Al Ain Film Festival has announced the names of the winners in its Abu Dhabi Festival Unproduced Screenplay competition, launched during the 3rd edition of Al Ain Film Festival, in collaboration with its cultural partner Abu Dhabi Festival. The winners were young Emirati writers Hamdan Al Ketbi for Muwazi (Parallel), Ali Lari for Al Baytari Al Sagheer (The Little Vet), and Saraa Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi for Hulmun Sagheer (A Small Dream). The competition highlights new talents and cultivates the next generation of Emirati screenwriters, part of Abu Dhabi Festival and Al Ain Film Festival’s shared mission to foster the development of the film industry in the UAE and create a unique creative atmosphere.
The winning scripts were selected by a panel of experts headed by Emirati film director and playwright Saleh Karama, with Emirati screenwriter Ahmed Salmeen and Emirati director Dr. Hussein Ibrahim. Each winner was awarded a grant of AED 20 thousand.
The competition reflects Al Ain Film Festival's strong belief in the importance of the script as a key component of film, which contributes significantly to a film’s success. Commenting on the implementation of the initiative aimed at supporting local creative talents in the field of screenwriting, Mr. Amer Salmeen Al Marri, Founder and Director of Al Ain Film Festival, said: “We are excited about our cooperation with Abu Dhabi Festival, one of the largest celebrations of culture in the region, to launch and implement this creative initiative targeting young Emirati writers.” The competition required applicants to be Emirati nationals no more than 35 years old, and to submit original screenplays written exclusively for cinema or inspired by or based on a published literary work. Scripts were required to be fictional, not documentary, and not less than 30 minutes long. “In its first edition, the competition attracted wide participation; ushering in the birth of an elite pool of new young authors in this field, who will leverage the Abu Dhabi Festival Unproduced Screenplay Competition as a springboard towards success. I wish all the best to the screenwriters winning the first edition of the competition, whose films are scheduled to be produced during this year, to be ready for screening during the 4th edition of Al Ain Film Festival”, said Al Marri.
H.E. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “We are proud to support a unique platform to advance emerging Emirati screenwriters and filmmakers, in line with our nation’s vision to develop a thriving film industry. Our strategic cultural partnership with the Al Ain Film Festival intersects our shared mission to cultivate achievements in cinema and give a voice to the young creatives who are the future of film in the UAE.
Throughout ADMAF’s 25-year history, the Foundation has served as an active incubator for young Emirati talent. Together with Al Ain Film Festival, our support continues to grow for the young creatives who are the bedrock of sustainable development in the UAE’s culture and creative industries.
I commend Hamdan Al Kitbi, Ali Lari and Saraa Al Shehhi, the winners of this year’s competition, for their creativity and their dedication to the craft of film. Their efforts reflect our nation’s long tradition of innovation”, H.E added.
The partnership with Al Ain Film Festival comes as part of the agenda announced for Abu Dhabi Festival 2021, held in its 18th edition under the theme The Future Starts Now, and through the Young Filmmakers' Circle initiative, an incubator for creativity and young Emirati filmmakers and directors.
Abu Dhabi Festival is supported by its main partner Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala) and energy partner GS Energy.