Making the ME proud: Bahraini filmmaker first Arab to take part in Manhattan International Film Festival
A Bahraini man is making the Arab world proud by being the first filmmaker to take part in New York’s “Manhattan International Film Festival” (MIFF).
Saleh Nass, Elements Cine Productions co-founder, will feature his film “Lu’ba” (Game) at the festival on March 1, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The film is about a young boy who gets dropped off at a park to take part in a football game, but is excluded and watches from the sidelines.
13 from a pool of 130 films will be screened at the annual festival, which is organised by the World Youth Alliance (WYA).
"Lu'bba is the first Arab film to be selected for MIFF," said WYA Middle East regional director Cedric Choukeir.
"The regional office of WYA is happy to finally see Arab issues and art screened on the international scene."
Nass said his film's inclusion at the prestigious festival was a testament to its universal story.
"I like the fact that I'm contributing to making Arab films more accessible to international audiences," he told the GDN.
"It's certainly flattering.
"Having festivals take in my film isn't good just for me, it's good for any Arab filmmaker who wants to do the festival circuit.
"It's a testament to the fact that there's more interest in films from the region."
"I made the film at a workshop in Dubai with Palme d'Or winner Abbas Kiarostami," said the 28-year-old.
"We were asked to portray loneliness and that was the fruit of that labour.
"Lu'bba has now been in more than 20 film festivals around the world.
Although the film has received huge popularity from festival organisers worldwide, there’s still a demand for it.
"I've stopped submitting it at festivals because I'm ready to show my next project, but festivals are still requesting for it."
Nass’s next project, Suq Al Markazi (Central Market), is completed and ready for this year's festival circuit.
Its storyline revolves around a boy who works at the local fruit and vegetable market in the afternoon carrying groceries and produce. He’s on the lookout for moneymaking opportunities, one of them is trying to milk a small goat at a nearby pen.
"I've also written a feature film which I hope to be able to produce by the end of the year," he added.
"We're finalising development for that."
MIFF, which will run from February 28 until March 2, has films from young directors from around the world including Brazil, Philippines, Spain, Romania, Armenia, Russia, Greece, Canada and Czechoslovakia.