Checking out the competition

A new competition for young Emirati film makers is calling on the country’s most talented teens to create films with a message for the community.
Checking out the competition
Nader Al Hakeem Katarat team gives advice to particpants.
By Chris Newbould
Tue 11 Jan 2011 12:00 AM

A new film competition is calling for entrants from the ranks of the UAE’s teenagers in the hope of finding the next generation of successful Emirati film makers. The myFILM mySTORY programme is being supported by Dubai Men’s College (DMC) of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT); broadcast and production supplier/installer/consultant United Broadcast and Media Solutions (UBMS); Dubai’s Institute of Applied Technology and Apple distributor Arab Business Machines. Media production company Katarat Ebda’a (‘drops of innovative creativity’) is organizing and co-ordinating the event and providing training and support to entrants.

The project has the full support of the local education authorities, and challenges 13-19 year olds to create short films with a message for their community. Early entrants to the competition, up to around the first 150, will also have the opportunity to attend a 20-hour visual story telling workshop on how to create a movie, free-of-charge, to be held in their schools. At the end of the workshop they will have completed a short film to enter into the film contest. Contestants can also create a film outside the workshops.

The workshops, worth around 3,000 AED, will be provided by Katarat Ebda’a, and Magy Saeed, director of talent development, explains: “The contest aims to enable Emirati and other young people to tap into their creativity to produce short films with a message - to address values and focus on issues that are important to the community in which they live and thrive.

“No previous experience in film production is required as the workshop offered by Katarat Ebda’a will provide training on pre-production, story development, camera use, shooting and post-production. We hope those who enroll will have a passion for film making and an inspiration to have their potential talent realized. Of course young people with previous film making experience are also very welcome.”

Three prizes will be given out to the successful film makers for best film, best story and best visual expression, with additional runner-up prizes for best script, directing, editing and cinematography. The three prize winners will then also be offered support, equipment and mentoring by the competition’s partners to make a second film, which will be entered into a major film festival such as the Dubai or Abu Dhabi events. The contest will also support the Emirati school system by offering high school students an opportunity to receive creative media training. The workshops will be held in local and private schools as well as the college facilities at HCT.

This is the first time Katarat has run such a competition, but it is no stranger to community work in the media, Saeed explains: “While it is the first time that Katarat Ebda’a has organised a contest, the company has substantial previous experience in production events and training and mentoring of young people in film production. The first event was held in 2006 in conjunction with HCT and the Mall of the Emirates. In fact, the company has an ongoing partnership with Dubai Men’s College in training/mentoring DMC students and hosting interns. A former attendee of our workshop has received an award in an international film festival.”

In fact the workshops’ previous alumni have won three awards at film festivals, including Mohammed Mamdouh who won the Special Jury Prize at Abu Dhabi’s Middle East International Film Festival in 2008 for his film The Fallen, and Saeed continues: “While the multi-national professional team of Katarat Ebda’a has a successful track record of creative media production in the Middle East, their passion is to enable GCC young people to produce creative media programming to leverage the fast growing Middle East media market.We believe there is a huge demand for local media talents. We see this as a corporate responsibility to motivate and enable this talent.”

Enrolment for the competition takes place until January 10th, 2011 with the workshops also beginning in January. The award ceremony for the successful films will take place in March.

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