Over 12,000 excited film fans from across the region crowded onto Abu Dhabi’s Corniche on November 4th for the inaugural TROPFEST Arabia short film festival. Jassem Al Jabbouri from Baghdad, Iraq won with his film Flock of Stars, which was selected by a celebrity jury panel and TROPFEST Arabia co-director and Egyptian superstar Ahmed Helmy.
Jassem Al Jabbouri beat eleven other finalists who had been selected from entries from across the Middle East and North Africa. Jassem’s film was selected for its creativity, ingenuity and strong message and was a huge hit with the live crowd that gathered on Al Sahil Beach in Abu Dhabi for a night of great films hosted by Raya and Qusai from Arabs Got Talent. Walking the TROPFEST Arabia red carpet were Ahmed Helmy and Egyptian actress Mona Zaki along with the celebrity jury panel including; UAE filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja, Saudi filmmaker and actress Ahd, Saudi director Mamdouh Salem, Lebanese director Amin Dora; Egyptian producer and scriptwriter Mohammed Hefzy, Jordanian actor Eyad Nasser and TROPFEST Australia 2011 winner Damon Gameau.
Also walking the red carpet were Emirati filmmaker Abdulla Al Kaabi, actor and filmmaker Nawaf Al Janahi, poet and director Nujoom Al Ghanem, local poet Khaled Al Budoor, singer and performer Ruwaida Al Marouqi and Mohammed Al Otaiba, Head of Image Nation Abu Dhabi. The event was rounded off by performances from the cast members of Star Academy Arab World season eight.
Commenting on being crowned winner of TROPFEST Arabia 2011, Jassem Al Jabbour, said: "I'm so excited to win first place at the first ever TROPFEST Arabia. This is the greatest achievement of my life and winning this will be a major step for my future career."
Commenting after the prize giving, John Polson, founder and director of TROPFEST, said: “What a great night, great films, great audience, great venue and great winner – I can’t wait for next year.”
As well as the prestige of winning the inaugural TROPFEST film festival, Jassem Al Jabbouri will receive US$12,500, a trip to LA to meet top film executives and a trip to Australia to be a judge at TROPFEST Australia 2012. In second place Lubna Saeed Al Amoodi from the UAE will win $7,500 and an internship with MBC, whilst Ahmed Ghazal from Egypt whose film won 3rd place, will receive $5,000 and a colour grading of his short film at twofour54 intaj. The Best Actor award was won by Ali Salloum, and the Best Actress Award by Dana Dajani.
In its inaugural year, TROPFEST Arabia received short film submissions of exceptionally high standard from across MENA, reflecting the abundance of up-and-coming talent in the region. The twelve finalists were selected from more than a hundred entrants by John Polson, founder of TROPFEST and Ahmed Helmy, co-director of TROPFEST Arabia, based on their creativity and originality, with several filmmakers having never created a film before.
Powered by twofour54 and presented by MBC2, TROPFEST Arabia is part of Yasalam, Abu Dhabi’s city-wide celebrations throughout October and November. All short listed films will also be available online via TROPFEST website, YouTube and Facebook, giving some of the region’s rising talent an opportunity to showcase their creative work to the world.
For further details on the festival visit: www.tropfestarabia.com
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