ZUMEFF 2012 honors Award Winners From Six Arab Countries


May 2, 2012

The third annual Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF) – the only film festival which showcases student films and filmmakers from across the Middle East – concluded on Wednesday night with a glittering award ceremony.

The winning filmmakers were flown to Abu Dhabi by Zayed University to attend the ceremony.  The grand prize winner was Roua Al Azzawi (The Last Hour) of the Red Sea Institute for Cinematic Arts in Jordan (RSICA). The award for Best Narrative went to Christy Whaibe (His Name is a Long Story) of IESAV in Lebanon. The Best Documentary was by Mohamad Elwassafy (Living in the Nile) of the High Cinema Institute in Egypt and for Best Animation went to  Fatema Al Hashemi and Safaa Al Katheeri (Our Farm) of Zayed University in the UAE.  Two honorable mentions were given:  one to Abdellatif Amajgag of Morocco for his narrative film,  “Towards a New Life” and  Mamoun Al Heremi of Palestine for this documentary, “Naser”.

The winners were chosen from 17 shortlisted films. Over 100 films were submitted from 12 countries across the region, and some 50 screened over two days.  A panel of three industry experts  -Jason Mirch, Creative Executive at ImageNation, along with UAE screenwriter Mohammed Hassan (Sea Shadow) and Abu Dhabi film Festival programmer Mohamed Khawja.

Dr. Marilyn Roberts, the Dean of the College of Communication & Media Sciences in Zayed University (ZU), presented the awards at a ceremony attended by the Deans of various departments, students and several high-ranking officials Emirati and Arab officials.  The films

The director of the film “Towards a New Life” Abdellatif Amajgag expressed his feelings after being awarded, “I’m extremely happy to be part of this festival which recognizes students as they are tomorrow’s directors. I wish continued success for  this amazing festival”.

Christy Whaibe, the director of “His Name is A Long Story” and the winner of the Best Narrative said, “ What is unique about this festival is, it gives the students the chance from all over the Middle East to get to know filmmakers’ cultures by watching their films and meeting them.”

The producer of the film “The Last Hour” which won the Best of The Best prize, Lama Abu Hassan, said, “I cannot describe how honored we are to get this award. This festival will push us forward to continue the hard work and participate in other film festivals.“

Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) and Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) are ZUMEFF’s primary sponsors. Each year, ADFF provides financial support, as well as helps the students with classroom lectures and coaching lessons. ADMAF also provides financial support, including cash prizes to the winners.  New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi also as a sponsor, provides a free 12-week filmmaking class scholarship to an aspiring filmmaker from amongst the ZUMEFF entries.

The festival aims to highlight students’ talents, and to encourage young people to produce films and develop their skills in directing, filming and production; and encourages communication between different cultures in the Middle East, opening the door of friendship and networking between participating students.