Red Sea: Shorts Competition, the exciting programming strand of the Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF), today announced the international selection from Asia and Africa which completes the 26-strong program of short films. The second edition of the festival is set to take place from 1-10 December in Jeddah, nestled on the eastern shore of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.
Short films are where the feature filmmakers of tomorrow hone their craft, but it's also a medium for more seasoned filmmakers to explore an idea that requires a shorter length, or maybe needs to be developed further. Award winning world cinema directors like Nadav Lapid, Lynne Ramsay, David Lynch and most recently Sally Potter have all made short films that are worth watching. Great things do come in small packages!
Kaleem Aftab, Director of International Programming for the RedSeaIFF, reiterated the idea: “Short films are such a vital part of the independent storytelling culture and this year’s selection of bold narratives truly celebrates the art of short-form cinema. The diverse selection across multiple forms and genres from Myanmar to Mongolia and Ghana to Somalia present insights into other cultures from some of the most exciting filmmakers working today.”
All filmmakers in the Red Sea: Shorts Competition will be invited to attend the Red Sea Talent Days, taking place on December 7-8, as part of the Red Sea Souk activities. Talent Days is an exciting and incredible program that will serve as a bridge between short and feature filmmaking where they will be provided with 2 days of inspirational talks, mentoring events, and individual meetings. Acclaimed director Kaouther Ben Hania will lead the second edition and will be joined by creatives from around the world, including MIME's own Managing Editor E. Nina Rothe.
The thirteen films picked for the Competition are:
Seasoned filmmaker Saurav Yadav’s A Boy Who Cannot See the Beauty takes audiences on a joyful, imaginative journey that plays with the idea that if you cannot see beauty, perhaps everything becomes beautiful. At moments it feels like an Indian Wes Anderson movie with its bright colors and witty asides that will delight audiences.
An award-winning writer, director, and producer Sis Gürdal presents the world premiere of A Quiet Summer. The short film follows Ada, a 17-year-old Turkish teenager, who faces social pressures from her multi-generational family while she pursues her first summer romance. Things take a turn for the worse when her carefree cousin arrives in town.
Dala Boatbreakers from emerging Myanmar filmmaker Kaung Swan Thar is a short documentary that unobtrusively observes the hazardous, backbreaking work of a group of boat wreckers, tearing them apart under the hot sun –- often with their bare hands –- for a meager wage.
Chinese animator Yufei Liu looked within himself for How I Grew Up, this story of an emotion that is powerful but has no name. His “I” figure is anxious about other people’s reactions to the fact he hasn’t thrown a cup of coffee away. Why does he feel that way? Four trivial events from his childhood may explain it.
From Khadar Ayderus Ahmed, the acclaimed Somali-born director of The Gravediggers’ Wife, which had its premiere last year in Cannes, and played at the Red Sea IFF, comes this vibrant and fantastical short Night Stop. A teenage boy is on his way home at night when his bicycle breaks down in the middle of a quiet road, where he meets a series of mysterious characters.
Winner of both the best short film in the Orizzonti section in Venice and best international short film in Toronto, Snow in September is directed by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir. A bold drama about a Mongolian teenage boy in a decaying Soviet-era apartment block in Ulaanbaatar Davka encounters an older woman, his ideas about intimacy and his view of relationships are forced to change.
The incredibly timely Split Ends (pictured above) from multi-awarded Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Alireza Kazemipour, follows a young woman and her male friend who try to evade the Tehran Morality Police after a police officer mistakenly identifies the long-haired man as a girl. Unjustly fined for failing to wear a hijab, the girl and her friend find a novel way to punish the police officer who is the source of their troubles.
In The Intrusion by Indonesian filmmaker Eden JunJung, a couple tries to dig up a freshly buried corpse to cut an ear from the body, believing it will act as a talisman to bring them wealth. The film offers an insight into the reality of urban Indonesia, where people are so frightened by poverty that they lose all sense of right and wrong.
The Storm by filmmaker Wendi Tang is the story of everyday injustice based on actual events in the Chinese director's youth. One day in late September 2008, Xiaomin, class president in her elementary school graduating class, is reported by her classmates who claimed to have witnessed her close contact with street hooligans outside the school.
Chinese director Chen Jianying won the Palme d'Or Award for Short Film The Water Murmurs at the 75th Cannes Film Festival this year. When an asteroid hits the Earth leading to underwater volcanic eruptions, the inhabitants of a small riverside town start to flee inland. Before she leaves, Nian decides to say goodbye to her childhood friend.
Set in a small Ghanaian town surrounded by a looming landfill site that is tipping garbage into the sea, Tsutsué from Armartei Armar is a story of grief. Two boys, Sowah and Okai, struggle to accept the loss of their older brother during a fishing expedition. Okai, who is only eight years old, is convinced his brother’s spirit is still out there.
Singaporean filmmaker and artist Story Choānn presents his latest short Turtle Soup. Aileen’s ex-husband refuses to elaborate on their eight-year-old son’s fight in school. As she reconnects with him, his presence inevitably forces her to confront her losses as a mother, which reveals her struggles to accept his new family situation.
Somalia-born, Vienna-based filmmaker Mo Harawe’s haunting short film Will My Parents Come to See Me is about a boy condemned to death in prison. An experienced Somali policewoman accompanies the young inmate through the procedures of the Somali justice system. It's unclear whether he knows what crime he has committed.
For more information, check out the Red Sea IFF website.