The short film, ‘Athel,’ directed by Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, and starring Hala Shiha, was screened on Friday, at Dubai’s women pavilion in Expo 2020.
A panel discussion, titled “Athel: Between Intuition and Empowerment”, was organised following the film screening. It was moderated by Dhekra Ouali. The panel included Alaa Karkouti, CEO and Co-Founder of MAD Solutions, which manages the film’s distribution, and from the film’s crew each of: Alessandro Martella, cinematographer, Afra Almarar, producer, assistant producer Khadijah Kudsi, and life coach Ayat Mekki.
The discussion addressed the challenges that women working in the Arab film industry face today, as well as the efforts and initiatives aimed towards women filmmakers. Karkouti will address the recent triumphs of women in the Arab film industry, based on MAD Solutions’ experience in distributing and promoting over 350 films, a third of which were directed by women. The discussion highlighted the leading role of the company in commercially distributing short films.
The film has garnered several awards including Best Film at Al Ain Film Festival in the UAE, Outstanding Achievement at Berlin Flash Film Festival in Germany, Gold Remi Award at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival in the United States, and an award at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival.
‘Athel,’ was officially chosen to participate in several international film festivals, such as Madrid International Film Festival, Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival (TINFF), where it was nominated for an award, Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival, Around International Film Festival (ARFF) in Amsterdam, VIFF Vienna Independent Film Festival, Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival, Prisma Awards for Independent Films in Italy, and Corto Creativo Short Film Festival in Mexico, to name but a few.
The film revolves around Salma, a well known television presenter, who is hosting a show about renowned Arab Poet, Tarfa ibn Al Abd. To her surprise, this show will turn her life as well as her career upside down, as fate presents some unrealistic events, in her way.
The film tells the story of the famous pre-Islamic poet Tarfa Bin Al-Abd or the “murdered boy” as he became known throughout history, in an unique light comedy dramatic manner. Tarfa Bin Al-Abd was a poet who was assassinated at the height of his fame, and many philosophers and intellectuals were perplexed by his demise.
Directed by Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, and produced by Anasy Media Productions and Toaster Productions, ‘Athel,’ stars Hala Shiha, Mansoor Al feeli, with executive producers Afra Almarar and Hayfa Al Haidary, and was shot by Alessando Martella. The film’s distribution is handled by MAD Solutions.
Anasy Media was founded in 2007 by Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al Nahyan and has produced several films that are available on iTunes, Virgin Megastores and numerous TV channels. Alyazia has contributed mainly to Anasy documentaries such as: Home of History, Future’s Nation, Serat Al Ehsan, Common Ground, The Tainted Veil and Nanny Culture. Also, the company organizes cultural events and holds two successful international documentary awards and a documentary club in Abu Dhabi. In addition to filmmaking, Alyazia is also an artist whose paintings have been successfully exhibited nationally and internationally.
Shiha co-starred with Tamer Hosny in the film ‘This Is Not Me’. The film raises a state of dispute between the two stars.
She said that she had requested that he remove all the intimate scenes from the film and allegedly he promised her that he would. A promise that was broken as clips of the film and song showed Shiha in “romantic” scenes with Hosny.
Shiha, said in her post that she felt ashamed of her scenes and was weeping as she watched them, and went on to remind Hosny that he himself had said in an interview that he doesn’t want to die as a singer, insinuating that he wants to repent and doesn’t see singing as something that goes with Islamic teaching.
Hosny didn’t remain silent to her accusations this time and posted his own response on social media stating that he never promised her the things she claimed on her post and he reminded her that no one forced her to do the role which she got paid highly for and the fact that the director of the film and he personally tried for months to contact her to finish doing the voice over or take part in the film poster but she kept ignoring them.