MasrdotBokra, an online film festival in its first year, will be held between 14 and 26 March with a special ‘Best of the Fest’ screening on the 27 March to encourage professional and amateur entrants, in what its organisers see as an innovation for the film industry.
“The festival takes place online because of the ever changing film industry,” the festival’s Artistic Director Mohamed Faramawy told Ahram Online.
He added that people have been watching media in a new way for the past few years and online content has become an extremely important part of film, whether for marketing reasons or for releasing new material from web-series to sketch comedies to feature length films.
“Film is an extremely versatile art form that translates from big screens to small screens,” Faramawy asserted and pointed out that what makes this festival special is that it embraces modern technology as a part of the filmmaking process.
Ali Faramawy, founder of MasrdotBokra, said that participation in this festival is free and open to any Egyptian person aged 18 and above.
Participants must write, create, record and edit in a digital video format a short film, of a maximum of 10 minutes in duration with no minimum running time and the content's choice left to the entrants, presented in formats such as *.mov, .wmv or .mp4 (the “Short Film”).
The Short Film must either be in Arabic or with Arabic subtitles.
The film must have been produced after 1 January 2013, be the original work of the entrant and must own the whole of the copyright in the short film.
Films will compete for three following prizes; the first prize for the best film is LE20 thousand, the value of the film prize, second place is LE10 thousand, and the value of the film award third-placed is LE5 thousand.
It is here that Mohamed Faramawy used his experience in the film industry to help launch and create the MDB Short Film Festival.
“Over the past few years I have experienced film festivals from every possible position,” says Faramawy.
“I have volunteered at festivals, submitted films I directed, submitted films I produced, worked at festivals through production companies, and simply been an audience member who wanted to watch movies. While working with MasrdotBorka, I took the elements of festivals that I enjoyed and that I have experienced and applied them to our own festival.”
Faramawy is to participate in the festival with ‘Yabanci’ film, which he wrote, produced and directed in 2013.
The film was shot in Istanbul and it is a semi-autobiographical story of the Egyptian director’s life in Turkey. The story address issues of cultural identity as it focuses on two young friends whose time together is coming to an end as they grow older. Having found success both on the festival circuit and online (when it was featured on filmshortage.com), Faramawy attributes a lot of his contributions to the MDB Short Film Festival from what he had learned while making ‘Yabanci’.
On February 18, ‘Yabanci’ is to be screened at Anthology Film Archives in New York as part of the New Filmmakers NY Winter Series.
Faramawy is an Egyptian Canadian director and producer who studied film and television production in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. At the age of 20, he worked as the associate producer of six feature films through Worldview Entertainment, a New York based Production Company. Those films include ‘Joe’, starring Nicolas Cage and ‘The Sacrament,’ a feature length horror movie. He also has served as a producer, script supervisor and editor of over twenty short films. Faramawy also has experience with reality television productions, and online content, which include music videos, sketch comedies, and commercial content.
Submissions for the MDB Short Film Festival are accepted through mdbfilmfestival.com and are open until 1 March.