I’ve previously blogged here about the festival circuit of Lebanese Qatari short film Super.Full by Niam Itani on which I had the honour of a cameo appearance.

Well we have some exciting updates for you…

The following has been originally written for the Doha Film Institute website.

Left: Ramy el Gabry; Right: Niam Itani

On 11 June, films by Lebanese Niam Itani and Ramy el Gabry from Egypt were short-listed into a group of 50 from 15,000 submissions in the ‘Your Film Festival’.

In an attempt to find the world’s best storytellers, YouTube and Emirates, in partnership with La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Film Festival) and Scott Free, have launched the Your Film Festival competition. Entries from 160 countries were cut down to 50 semi-finalists. Just 10 films are in the final including those by Niam and Ramy.

Around three million people voted. The results were announced on 1 August. Ramy’s “This Time” and “Super.Full” (supported by Doha Film Institute) by Niam – the only woman director in the finals – are the only films from the Mena region to get so far in the contest.

“These ten finalists have achieved something quite remarkable and are all clearly talents to watch,” Ridley Scott said in a statement. “People may be surprised to know that making a short film is very difficult, but these filmmakers have all succeeded in realising their visions and I congratulate them on this achievement.”

What happens to the finalists now? What are the prizes?
According to Your Film Festival’s official website, the prizes are:

“There were many films from big countries that had lots of media support and exposure,” Niam told the Doha Film Institute. “Lebanon and Qatar, the production companies of my film, are both tiny countries…Lebanon has electricity and internet problems all the time. Now that I am a finalist I’m thrilled of course and a little bit nervous about Venice and the pitching session, but it’s a great achievement and I feel blessed and very lucky to have made it to the final round…I am also eager to meet the other finalists and hang out with people who are as passionate and crazy about film as much as I am.”

Ramy, 25, kept his spirits high during the competition. “I am very happy for both us and it’s a big achievement already to make it to one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. It will hopefully support us with our future projects and make producers more attentive to the stories we want to tell.” he said.


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