ZUMEFF round-up, awards and reviews of two films by Zayed University students
Ahmad Saleh won “Best of the Best” for “Ayny: My Second Eye” at the Zayed University Film Festival.
Reem Rashed Al Mazrouei and her team from Com 311 offer a round-up on the final day of the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival, including a report on the awards, interviews with workshop leaders, filmmakers, and reactions from students. Other members of the video team were Athari Mahmood (presenter); Salma Mohammed (cameraperson); and Ayesha Saif (editor).
Review of films by two Zayed University students
by Nashwa Adel Salem Omar Al Shamlan:
It was great to see such a large number of creative minds at ZUMEFF. I watched eight films in total, but for this assignment focused on only two:
- “The Choice,” a narrative by Eman Talal Al Sayed, a recent Zayed University graduate, and
- a documentary, called “For Them,” by Khawla Abdulkareem, also of Zayed University.
“The Choice” focused on a young Western woman with mixed roots, an American mother and an Emirati father, who after the death of her father, was given a choice to marry one of her Emirati cousins in order to receive a substantial inheritance. However, not only is her cousin apparently “in love” with someone else, but the young woman also faces other problems like being forced to change her attire, quit her passion for ballet dancing, and modify herself to fit Emirati norms.
At the end of the film, and right before her wedding, the young woman has a talk with her younger brother and they both flee with ice creams in their hands and a smile on their faces. Her final choice is not absolutely clear.
The film was very professionally produced, featuring actors from different nationalities, and a wide range of scenes starting in a Bedouin tent. It took 10 months to complete. What was really hard to miss was the emphasis on the word “choice” which was repeated quite a number of times. I absolutely loved it.
As for the documentary, “For Them” revolved around voluntary work and specifically UAE sponsored refugee camps, which offered everything from clothing, food, and medicine and even had their own warehouses to produce utilities like furniture.
I could greatly relate to this topic because many of our Arab and Muslim neighboring countries are going through such crises, and although it may seem like we are doing our part, we most certainly are not. The visuals were heart-warming, and send a chill down your spine. It sort of gave the audience a sense of motivation that it is our turn now, our turn to lend a hand. Also, it mainly focused on Emirati figures on the field and this made the film even more relatable. Each and every one of them is someone I look up to and hope to become in the future.