With Thy Spirit short film for Karim Rahbani wins Best of the Best award at ZUMEFF


May 19, 2015

Zayed University (ZU) students raised the UAE flag high in Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF) following their short film screening that amazed judges and left audience speechless in a glittering ceremony.

The two-day festival was held under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation and President of Zayed University (ZU).

Dr Marilyn Roberts, Acting Provost and Dean of the College of Communication and Media Sciences, presented the awards at the ceremony, which was also attended by Dr Abdel Mohsen Onsy, Associate Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Imad DeirAtany, Managing Director of New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi, Saeed Elwan, Manager of Nikon Brand in the Middle East, and several faculty members from the College of Communication and Media Sciences.

Hundreds of ZU male and female students were also present at the event.

“I wish to extend to you greetings from H.E Sheikha Lubna and Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of ZU. We extremely appreciate their support to the event. I would also love to welcome members of community and extend many thanks to our partners and sponsors,” Dr Marilyn said during the award ceremony.

“As the UAE’s film industry embarks on a new era, it is vital to support Arab filmmakers, nurture their filmmaking and storytelling talents and attract more film productions to the country’s maturing film industry. Therefore, ZUMEFF came to enable young filmmakers to develop and complete feature narrative or documentary films. I would love to take this opportunity to thank all universities, which took part in this year’s festival. The quality of films has improved compared to previous years. Congratulations to the brightest Arab talents and filmmakers,” she added.

ZUMEFF has awarded six short films in three different categories: narrative, animation and documentary. Short films were written, produced and directed by young bright talents from UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine.

It is worth mentioning that the festival has received over 100 submissions from around 40 universities and 16 countries. About 65 short films have competed against each other and only 15 were shortlisted for the final awards.  

The New York Film Academy/ZUMEFF Award for the Best Inspiring Filmmaker went to Mohamed Nizar Luqman and Saleh Bin Halaby on their short movie “The Final Chapter”.

The Final Chapter, which was written and directed by Mohamed Nizar Luqman, focused on a young man, who tries to understand the concept of death.  

“The Final Chapter is a very personal endeavor. I was passionate about writing and filmmaking since I was a child. The idea of my short film came following I took a course at ZU entitled love and death. At the end of the course, we had to write an essay or create a project that can benefit the public and enrich their knowledge,” Mohamed, 22-year-old ZU student, who majors in international affairs at Abu Dhabi campus, said.

“Death is not an evil thing and it is not only a good thing; however, it is a necessary phenomenon for the appreciation of life. Death is a value. It humbles all of us. Death knows no religion, culture or color. It is the ultimate truth,” he added.

The Best Animation Award went to Nissmah Roshdy on her animated poetry film “The Dice Player,” which visualized parts of the titled poem written by Mahmoud Darwish, a Palestinian poet and author known for his literary output.

“I am really honored to receive this award and I would love to dedicate it to Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian poet and author, who is known for his literary output. My short film was a modest attempt to emphasize the importance of the Arabic language and poetry,” Nissmah said.

The Best Narration Award went to Karim Jafaar from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon on his short film “The Day in September”. It is the story of an old woman, who lost her only son in the war.

The Best Documentary Award went to Baha Abu Shanab from Palestine on his short documentary “Living of the Pigeons,” which shows everyday life at a checkpoint between the two cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

The Best of the Best Award went to Karim Rahbani from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon on his short film “With Thy Spirit”. The film is about Father Geryes, a priest leading a peaceful life within his monastery in Lebanon finds himself involved in a tragic accident.  

Additionally, one honorable mention went to Mohamed Abu Sennah from Dar Al Kalima University in Palestine on his short documentary “Praise of Wounds”. The documentary captured the journey of a mother in Jerusalem and her child, who are trying to reach their home, Al Aqsa Mosque.

From A to B, directed by Ali Mostafa and co-produced by twofour54 and Image Nation, was screened after the awarding ceremony.