Egyptian short film Henet Ward, directed by Morad Mostafa, has been announced Friday among 40 films competing in the 37th Busan International Short Film Festival, taking place in South Korea in late August.
"Such an honour," Mostafa told Ahram Online Sunday while thanking his cast and crew. Mostafa is the only Arab representation of the 29 countries of the Grand Prix shortlisted films.
"The festival is considered as the biggest short film festival in Asia and its Grand Prix is Oscar qualifying," the Egyptian director explained proudly.
In addition to a mention by Philippines' Dreamanila Festival, Henet Ward received a Special Mention of the jury of the 2020 Palm Springs International Short Film Festival in late June after it had earlier received a Special Mention of the jury at the Akbank Film Festival.
The 23-minute film Henet Ward, telling the story of Halima, a Sudanese henna painter who lives in Egypt, stars Emad Goniem, Halima, and Hagar Mahmoud, among others.
Aside from directing, Mostafa also co-wrote the script (with Mohamed Ali Mansour) and co-produced it (with Sawsan Youssef).
"The film is about the simple people, and the hostility that they have among each other," Mostafa stated to Ahram Online, adding that Henet Ward is "also about refugees in general and the Sudanese in particular."
"The idea of bullying between Egyptians and non-Egyptians in popular neighbourhoods is presented by a Sudanese henna painter who goes with her young daughter to a popular area in order to prepare a bride. There is a sudden dramatic escalation that reveals these ideas about bullying, but between two classes that are closely related to each other,” Mostafa said.
"It has neither rich nor poor, and the violence in the film is coming from the simple class to the simple class," Mostafa concluded.
Born in 1988, Mostafa has worked in the film industry since 2010, first as an assistant director to filmmakers such as Hala Khalil (in Nawara), Sherif El-Bendary (in Ali the Goat and Ibrahim), Ayten Amin, and Mohamed Diab.
He was also the first assistant director in Ayten Amin's crew for ‘Souad
,' one of 56 films of the Cannes Film Festival's Official Selection for the 2020 edition, which was cancelled.
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