Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

UAE Arabic short film screenplay makes it to the Oscar Library

Pink is an eight-minute film in Arabic with an all-female cast. Courtesy Arkus
Pink is an eight-minute film in Arabic with an all-female cast. Courtesy Arkus

An Arabic short film made in the UAE, has been accepted by the Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, better known as the Oscar Library.

Pink was written and directed by Abu Dhabi-based Radio Mirchi producer Arkus. He submitted his English-language screenplay, which he wrote for his final project at Abu Dhabi New York Film Academy, to the library last year and received the letter of acceptance within three weeks.

The film, which focuses on a woman’s physical insecurities, has screened at 11 international film festivals, including Kolkata Film Festival in India, the Silent River Film Festival and Rumschpringe International Short Film Festival in the United States and Zurich Film Festival. The eight-minute film boasts an all-female cast and will be shown for the first time in the UAE at the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival on Monday, May 18. The 29-year-old director tells us what inspired him to write Pink.

How did the idea for the film come about?

I work in media so I know how the media manipulates people into believing what might not be the truth of the world. So we wanted to show the self-image of a woman vis-à-vis what the media says a woman should look like. There is a lady who is divorced and her former husband has fallen for a young model. In her head she is ugly and she is trying to look attractive to match up to the world of models and what she sees in magazines. In such a world, how does one bounce back? The film starts with her world falling apart and you see her struggle in that phase.

Why is the film called Pink?

Pink represents many things associated with women. For example, when you look at the breast cancer logo, that’s pink. Pink represents freedom, womanhood and beauty at the same time. I thought the title was apt.

How many people worked on this short film?

There are no male characters in this film. And most of the crew members were female. Altogether we had nine people working on this film. I wrote, directed and edited it.

How did the chance to submit this to the Oscar Library come about?

In November, the film was shown at the Indian Cine Film Festival. One of the jury members got in touch and told me the film could make it to the Oscar Library. I started the process, which included making the rounds of international film festivals and submitting a synopsis and the original script. After that it took three weeks to receive an approval. As far as I am aware, this is the only short film script from the UAE that has made it to the Oscar Library.

Did you have challenges making the film?

Writing this film was tough because how do you showcase an internal struggle, something that is in your head, creatively and through visuals on screen? We shot the movie in two days, but the New York Film Academy supported with the equipment and post-production.

You’ve written the script in English, but the end product is in Arabic. Why?

I’m not an Arabic speaker. But I locked down Arabic-speaking actors, decided that it would be more believable and relatable if they did it in their mother tongue. All the actors were attuned to the changes I was making and were translating it on set. They were into the film even before the shooting began.

• The Zayed University Middle East Film Festival is on May 17 and 18. Pink (with English subtitles) will be screened between noon and 1.30pm on May 18. View the full schedule online at zajelzu.ae/zumeff

aahmed@thenational.ae

Updated: May 14, 2015 04:00 AM

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