By Lubna Hamdan
Arab Film Studio has returned for its fourth season.
Amateur short film competition, Arab Film Studio (AFS), has returned for its fourth season in Abu Dhabi, with a 300 percent rise in applicants since registration opened in late January.
Launched by content creator Image Nation with the partnership of twofour54, the competition is a three-month, multi-disciplinary training program, during which participants will produce a short film with the help of leading film professionals, like Bader Ben Hirso, director of award winning drama movie 'A New Day in Old Sana’a'.
The films will then be judged by a panel of movie experts, and a winner will be chosen for the prize of AED50,000 () funding money, and the opportunity to work with Image Nation.
In its most competitive season yet, the competition aims to encourage local amateur talents to break into the international film industry, while also highlighting the UAE’s growing film scene.
“I think the calibre of this year’s participants is our best yet,” said CEO of Image Nation Michael Garin. “It’s the most submissions we’ve ever seen for Arab Film Studio. The sheer amount of applicants we received goes to show that programs like these are beneficial to the UAE. Together with twofour54, we are determined to create programs to train aspiring filmmakers to become part of our ever-growing film industry,” he added.
What’s special about the competition, said COO of twofour54, Maryam Al Mheiri, is its focus on amateur filmmakers.
“What makes this programme unique is that participants are not required to have extensive experience in producing films before joining and are allowed to experience filming on a tight budget which opens the door for more early industry entrants to take part,” she said.
On of this year’s contestants, 23-year old Emirati Mohamed J. Al Musharakh, said the program is an opportunity to represent his country on an international level.
“I’m hoping it will allow me to progress from an amateur to a professional filmmaker and go on to represent the UAE with my films,” said Al Musharakh.
As for previous AFS winners, they have showcased their competition works in several film festivals around the world.