First Published: 2017-10-11

Amateur film competition challenges young Tunisians
The festival, in its fourth year, challenges aspiring film-makers to create a film in 48 hours.
Middle East Online

By Roua Khlifi - TUNIS

A group of young Tuni­sians raced down the streets of Tunis towards the movie theatre to drop off their short films for this year’s “48 Hours Film Pro­ject” minutes before the submis­sion deadline.

The festival, in its fourth year, challenges aspiring film-makers to create a film in 48 hours. Their pro­duction must correspond to a des­ignated genre and include a line or prop chosen by the event’s organis­ers.

Though small, the event has be­come an important occasion for Tu­nisia’s film community since it be­gan in the country in 2014. A total of 34 teams submitted films as part of this year’s contest.

Akram Moncer, the general direc­tor of the festival, said it serves as a great opportunity for amateur film-makers to expand their horizons.

“The experience has been great so far as the first edition had more than 31 teams with 31 films and the success continued with the rest of the editions,” Moncer said. “As is the tradition, the winner of the Tu­nis 48 Hour Project will participate in Filmapalooza, which will be a great opportunity to learn from in­ternational film-makers.

“The winner gets to participate in an international festival that gath­ers participants from different parts of the world and participants at­tend panels and workshops to learn from the experiences of other inter­national film-makers.”

He said the ten best films at Fil­mapalooza, a competition in which entries from more than 130 cit­ies worldwide take part, will be screened in at Cannes.

“We hope every year that we make it as we learn more from the experience,” Moncer said.” There were teams that participated for four years and this helped them win the competition and learn more about the film industry.”

Participants took many creative approaches to the project. Some filmed in public areas such as ca­fés to get the perfect shot to shape their narrative.

Sarah Kanzari, whose short film “Relic” won first prize, said she was grateful the competition pushed participants to do their best in a limited amount of time.

“Such festivals are important, es­pecially for amateurs as they push you to do your best, to learn more about film-making,” Kanzari said. “It is an opportunity to test your knowledge, your creativity. It is special because it puts you under enormous pressure and it really gets the best out of you.”

Raafet Abdeli, a 23-year old ama­teur film-maker who entered this year’s contest, said it “is an amaz­ing platform to help young people work as part of a team.”

“What is special about these events that it provides even young people the opportunity to learn. You can attend and observe as a part of a team and learn about this without having to undergo a form of training,” Abdeli said.

Abdeli also noted that it gives participants the advantage of film­ing and screening their projects.

“It serves as a motivation to pro­duce films and as you can see there is a great number of short films that were produced during the period of the festival. I mean, the idea and the editing and the filming all have to be in 48 hours and there was this issue with having to pick a genre. We had to work on that,” Abdeli said.

“It is a challenge that they re­strict you to certain expressions that must be mentioned in the film and certain objects that must ap­pear like we had to include the flag and that is a challenge to know how to work on that in 48 hours. It was challenging to deal with certain is­sues and cope with stress but it was something to live and enjoy.”

Kanzari’s “Relic,” the first-prize winner, fell into the “suspense” genre and focused on “immortal­ity.”

Kanzari said she hopes there will be similar opportunities for ama­teur film-makers in the future.

“We don’t have producers in Tu­nisia who would give a chance to young and amateur film-makers. We have only a couple who have ar­chaic vision of cinema, who would refuse to introduce a new spirit to cinema as they would stick to the same ideas and even clichés,” Kan­zari said.

“As a young film-maker, you don’t find support and you have to make your own film on your own expense and rely on your own means to fi­nance your project, which is why competitions like ‘48 Hours’ are great. You have the same means and same time to film and produce as everyone else.”

Roua Khlifi a regular Travel and Culture contributor in Tunis.

This article was originally published in The Arab Weekly.


Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe