Standout shorts from Bahrain and Kuwait crowned winners

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Three filmmakers have taken home the grand prize at the first ever Small Screen, Big Film festival after voting by the public and acclaimed jury members from across the globe. ‘Lost’ by Hassan Abdulla Hasan Ali Ebrahim and ‘The Black Circle’ by Adullah Mohsen Abdullah – both from Bahrain – and Kuwait’s ‘On my way to college’ by Azza Abdul Wahab Al Jamal will take part in a one-to-one coaching programme with a British filmmaker from the London Film School as part of their prize.

Running from April 24th – May 4th 2018 on the British Council’s YouTube channel, film fans from across the globe were given the opportunity to watch 12 shortlisted films created by young people from the Gulf, and vote for their favorite. The three winning shorts were selected through a combination of audience voting and scores from the acclaimed jury. The festival ran as part of Small Screen, Big Film smartphone competition, held under the Department of Culture, Media and Sports programme delivered in partnership with the British Council.

Rehana Mughal, Senior Programme Manager, Culture and Sport at British Council commented: “This is the inaugural edition of the festival, and so we are thrilled to have seen such a positive response from audiences around the globe, with more than 175,000 film views across the course of the festival. The strength of the entries we received was impressive, and I’d like to congratulate Hassan, Abdullah and Azza for their standout short films. We also extend our thanks to partners Intofilm, the London Film School and our jury for their exceptional support throughout this project. We look forward to watching them continue to pursue their filmmaking goals, and hope Small Screen, Big Film has given all those who submitted work an opportunity and confidence to take their skills forward.”

A new platform for young and aspiring filmmakers in the Gulf, Small Screen, Big Film is one of several initiatives under the British Council’s Culture and Sports programme, a three-year initiative aimed at promoting active participation in culture and sports to encourage greater youth engagement, team work, volunteering, female participation and leadership, diversity and inclusion.

Abdullah Mohsen Abdullah, winner of the 18-25 category said: “It feels great to see your hard work appreciated! Shooting a movie through a phone was both difficult and fun at the same time. I usually use professional cameras and equipment but for this one, only used a smart phone and natural lighting which was a unique experience that I learned a lot from. This award is a huge achievement and a great boost for us to keep developing our skills and create more films, be it locally or internationally.”

Commenting on his experience, Hassan Abdulla Hasan Ali Ebrahim, winner of the under 18s category said: “Regardless of the limitations of filming using a smartphone, it was a great experience and an exciting challenge to break the routine. The competition is unique, as it gives creative young people an opportunity to explore the world of filmmaking and to develop their talents in the field.”