The film by Sheikha Alyazia bint Nahyan Al Nahyan is about pre-Islamic poet Tarafa Ibn Al-Abd.
Emirati short film, Athel, directed by Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al Nahyan and starring Hala Shiha screened at Expo 2020 at Dubai’s women’s pavilion.
The event, titled ‘ATHEL: Between Intuition and Empowerment,’ included a panel discussion moderated by Dhekra Ouali. The panel included Alaa Karkouti, CEO and Co-Founder of MAD Solutions, which manages the film’s distribution, 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 addressed 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.
The film revolves around Salma, who films a poetry show about the pre-Islamic poet Tarafa. A sandstorm disrupts the shoot and sends Salma to a surrealist landscape.
The film tells the story of the famous pre-Islamic poet Tarafa Ibn Al-Abd or the “murdered boy” as he became known throughout history, in a light comedy dramatic manner. Tarfa Ibn 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.