Nayla Al Khaja to represent UAE on Tropfest Arabia judging panel

11 Aug 2011

Tropfest Arabia Co-Director and Judging Panel Named Nayla Al Khaja to represent UAE on Judging Panel, Ahmed Helmy to co-direct Festival with Tropfest founder John Polson

Tropfest Arabia, the new Arabic version of the world’s largest short film festival, has today announced that leading UAE filmmaker, Nayla Al Khaja, will represent the UAE on the Judging Panel; superstar, Ahmed Helmy, will support Tropfest founder, John Polson, as co-director.

The announcement comes with less than two months remaining for Arab filmmakers to submit a film to the inaugural Tropfest Arabia film festival, which will be staged in front of a live audience in Abu Dhabi on 4th November 2011.

Joining Nayla Al Khaja on the judging panel are a number of celebrated actors, filmmakers and directors from across the Middle East, including: Saudi film maker and actress Ahd Kamel and the director Mamdouh Salem; Lebanese film maker and actress, Nadine Labaki; co-founder and director of Lebanese web series Shankaboot, Amin Dora; Egyptian producer and scriptwriter, Mohammed Hefzy and Tropfest Australia 2011 winner, Damon Gameau.

Commenting on the announcement, John Polson, founder of Tropfest said: “I could not be more excited about the fantastic line up for the inaugural Tropfest Arabia. Judging the festival will be some of the most celebrated and inspirational actors, directors and short filmmakers from across the region. Tropfest Arabia’s aim is to offer aspiring filmmakers a platform to showcase their films and this is why it is essential that we have the credibility of a team that completely understands the region’s film industry.”

Nayla Al Khaja is the first female film producer from the United Arab Emirates and the CEO of D-SEVEN Motion Pictures. In 2010, her script “MALAL” won the Best Script Award at the Gulf International Film Festival, and she also won first place in the Muhr Emirati category at the Dubai International Film Festival 2010. In 2007 Nayla won the award for Best Emirati Director in Dubai International Film Festival and was also listed as one of the most powerful 50 Arab Film by Good News Cinema magazine.

Ahmed Helmy is best known for his fast-paced wit and comedic acting and has been a major player in the Egyptian mainstream media since 1999, starring in films like “Omar 2000”; “Galteny Mogremen”; “Keda Reda”; “Asef Ala EL Ezaag” and Assal Eswed. His leading role in Egyptian cinema and popularity across the Middle East makes him the ideal co-director to support John Polson on the first ever Tropfest Arabia.

Tropfest Arabia aims to become one of the most influential and popular short film events on the region’s film circuit; helping to nurture the region’s growing film making community by taking a grass roots approach and supporting talent that might otherwise feel excluded from the region’s more established film festivals. The shortlisted films will be screened publicly in Abu Dhabi and will be available for online viewing, providing an excellent opportunity for the region’s talent to present their short films to the whole region.

One important element that the jury will be looking for in each of the submitted films is the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), which for the opening year is ‘STAR’. The TSI was introduced to test the creativity of filmmakers by challenging them to reference it in their film, encouraging creativity and to also ensure that films are created specifically for Tropfest Arabia.

Aspiring film makers across the region can submit their entries to Tropfest Arabia until 22nd September 2011. Judging will commence on 1st October 2011, with the 12 short listed finalist films picked by a specialist jury announced on 16th October 2011. These short listed films will then be premiered and screened at the Tropfest Arabia festival in Abu Dhabi.

To get further details on how to submit a film

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