Arab Film Studio celebrates five-year anniversary with screenings of its best films

Published October 12th, 2016 - 03:00 GMT
AFS Docs 2015 winner Amna Al Nowais, whose documentary short, Omnia, was been selected for 21 film festivals and won five awards. (Twitter)
AFS Docs 2015 winner Amna Al Nowais, whose documentary short, Omnia, was been selected for 21 film festivals and won five awards. (Twitter)

The best of Arab Film Studio's (AFS) films will be screened in Abu Dhabi this November, as part of AFS' fifth anniversary.

A training programme run by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, AFS is one of the very few dedicated film education resources in the region. Since it was established five years ago, 70 students from 17 different nationalities graduated from the programme.

"When we started the program in 2012 we never have imagined it would grow into a leading training provider with four dedicated specialities," said Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation.

AFS, which started with narrative film competition specialising in fictional films, now includes programmes for documentary filmmakers, scriptwriters and high school students.

AFS-produced short films and documentaries have featured in over 70 different film festivals around the world, the likes of, LA Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival and Dubai International Film Festival. Most recently, a record nine AFS films have been selected to screen at the 16th Beirut International Film Festival (BIFF) this month.

"BIFF were astounded by the high quality of storytelling and production of the Arab Film Studio films, which is why we have chosen nine films to feature in the programme this year. It really is hard to believe they have come from amateur filmmakers, but we are proud to support emerging talent," stressed Colette Naufal, director of BIFF.

One such emerging talent is AFS Docs 2015 winner Amna Al Nowais, whose documentary short, Omnia, has been selected for 21 film festivals and won five awards. Omnia is heart-warming story about a young Egyptian woman who was affected by the practice of female genital mutilation.

"The success of the film at festivals has been great exposure for me and for the film's profile, as it is ultimately a film that can raise awareness," mentioned Al Nowais.

Winners of the AFS Narrative and Docs programmes receive internships with Image Nation, where they can put their training into practice on major productions, both regionally and internationally. In addition, winners of AFS Scriptwriting (in association with Dubai Film Market) win a Dh 100,000 development deal to make their screenplay into a film.

Each learning programme is a multi-disciplinary course spanning several months, including workshops, online tutorials and assignments. Each course ends with a film competition, where students have to make their own short film or write a script, depending on their course speciality.

In celebrating five years of AFS, Image Nation will screen all the final films to date from these competitions, on November 13, at The Lab in Abu Dhabi.


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