Gulf Film Festival Days 2 & 3

Wonderful festival programing so far! It’s been a round-the-clock happening: from morning trips to the Burj Khalifa through the midnight Gulf Nights discussion sessions and beyond. Gérard Courant’s Cinématon is mesmerizing on a large screen, and Gérard has been busily collecting more portraits for the ever-evolving film. We really liked the shorts programs.

Mahya Soltani’s Sweet and Sour Like a Pomegrante from the UAE and Iran uses wonderful stop motion animation to relate a personal tale of growing up. Through shifting shapes of colorful paper, Iran becomes a nostalgic home, a contradiction, a question mark, and a revolutionary hope–one after another and all at the same time. The handmade animation offers a nice contrast to the digital effects of We Will Become Oil and Body Memory, which explored issues of loneliness, transformation, and escape.

Other highlights for us so far include:

  • Meeting Bassam Al-Thawadi: he’s so inspiring and supportive of new filmmakers.
  • Carom: the use of cinematic language and metaphor to ask a subtle, yet powerful, series of questions.
  • KSA Through Their Eyes: a documentary exploration of expatriates in Saudi Arabia.
  • Fireworks: an eco-thriller enhanced by filmmaker Giacomo Abbruzzese’s comments on how film can serve as the collective dreaming of a city.
  • Sound of Rain: wonderful acting and a whimsical narrative.
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