Egypt (SAT-7) — On March 8th, filmmakers celebrated an awards ceremony for a short film competition in Eygpt, Dialogue without Walls (in Arabic, Hewar bila Aswar). SAT-7 and Egyptian national television stations aired the ceremony live from the Nile Hall in downtown Cairo, Egypt.
Through the short film competition, SAT-7 aims to encourage conversation and build bridges between people of different political and religious backgrounds. It also gives young filmmakers a platform to express their opinions independently of commercial pressures.
A committee of independent judges, comprised of filmmakers, chose three award winners from 52 film submissions.
First prize was awarded to “The Shot,” produced by Tamer Arnest, a young Egyptian filmmaker living in Kuwait. Tamer is a member of the media group at Kuwait Evangelical Church, which trained with SAT-7 two years ago.
Out of four SAT-7 productions submitted to the competition, two were awarded second and third prizes. The second award went to “A Harmonic Film,” directed by Shokry Zikry (pictured right) and with screen play by Amir Nessim. “A Harmonic Film” centers on a young filmmaker trying to make a film that wins an award. His mentor advises him to compromise his values to impress the audience. At first he agrees, but then at the last moment, he sticks to his convictions and does not compromise.
And third prize went to “Braids,” produced by Farid Garas. “Braids” is a film about a young woman fighting within herself for freedom from misconceptions about women in the conservative Middle Eastern community. Her father tries to liberate her, but throughout the course of events, he dies. She is left to suffer but she does not surrender her cause. Both SAT- 7 films were produced in December, 2013 in partnership with the Family Life Network.
SAT-7 organized Dialogue without Walls for the first time this year, in collaboration with Catholic Cinema Center and the Synod of the Nile: Dialogue Council. The Catholic Cinema Center is highly respected for its values, as it is the only institute that can nominate Egyptian films for the Oscars and Cannes festivals. Mainstream industry professionals followed the awards ceremony with positive remarks.
Farid Garas, Executive Director of SAT-7 Egypt, points out the importance of encouraging high quality production in Christian film-making. He says, “I believe we have the best redemptive stories to tell, but sometimes we miss telling them in the best way, or tell them only to our audience. We have to speak to the world in a language they understand. The art of film-making is certainly one of the best ways to do that, and young people are the best ones to do that.”