Mohamed Hussein Anwar, an Egyptian filmmaker and screenwriter, won first prize during Tropfest Arabia 2012 last week.
Tropfest Arabia, which is in its second year, “aims to become one of the most influential and popular short film events on the region’s film circuit; helping to nurture the region’s growing film-making community by taking a grassroots approach and supporting first time filmmakers that might otherwise feel excluded from the region’s more established film festivals,” according to the festival’s official website.
The festival, which was held in Abu Dhabi, brings together short films produced by young filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, along with a jury panel including a number of renowned figures from the film industry.
The five and a half minute long winning film, titled 'Undamageable', explores the strength of ideas in a changing society, in reference to Egypt's Arab Spring.
Anwar's movie was chosen from 16 finalists from the region by a panel of judges that included a number of renowned figures from the film industry, such as Egyptian writer and director Amr Salama, Syrian actress and filmmaker Kinda Alloush, Kuwaiti film producer and director Amer Al-Zuhair, Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour, Tunisian actress Hend Sabry, who was also a co-director of this year's festival alongside Tropfest founder John Polson, and others.
Anwar, who graduated from law at Alexandria University and is 24 years old, took home the prize of $12,500 and was also awarded a trip to Los Angeles to meet figures from the film industry.
The runner up was Khaled El-Boumeshouli, a 29-year-old Moroccan who directs animated films.