Three filmmakers have taken home the grand prize at the first ever Small Screen, Big Film festival after voting by the public and acclaimed jury members from across the globe. ‘Lost’ by Hassan Abdulla Hasan Ali Ebrahim and ‘The Black Circle’ by Adullah Mohsen Abdullah – both from Bahrain – and Kuwait’s ‘On my way to college’ by Azza Abdul Wahab Al Jamal will take part in a one-to-one coaching programme with a British filmmaker from the London Film School as part of their prize. We spoke with Azza about her approach to filmmaking.
What is your experience of filmmaking so far? I’m still getting into the industry. At this point, I’m focusing on growing my filmmaking by making films and learning from my mistakes. I started when I was just in high school, and so want to keep bettering my films and hope I’ve got good experience in the field by the time I graduate college.
What inspired you to enter the competition? I’ve always wanted the chance to learn from a professional filmmaker, and I saw the competition and the opportunity to be a part of a workshop with the London Film School. I had to go for it.
‘On my way to college’ is surprisingly powerful. It packs an important message in to its brief three minutes. Tell us your process for creation. As I walk to college every day, I think about new ideas for films. While on the road, I decided to take what I learn from these journeys as a way to inspire other students who may be going to college. It doesn’t stop at the end of the road, there’s a chance to find wisdom and maybe even change your thinking.
Is filmmaking something you wish to continue? Do you believe there exists a film industry large enough to support the coming generation of Middle Eastern filmmakers? Yes of course, I’m going to keep learning from my work and hope to be a better filmmaker in the future. I believe there is a new, bigger generation of filmmakers coming in the region. Competitions like Small Screen, Big Film are needed to keep showcasing new talent and allowing people to learn and build their confidence in their work.
What do you hope to get out of your time with the London Film School workshop? I want to take in as many new things and approaches to filmmaking, which I can take forward and hopefully help to create a long-form film in the future.
New projects in mind? At the moment, no, but I hope to get inspiration from the London Film School workshop and start filming this summer.
What’s your opinion of the Middle East’s film industry right now. Who’s getting it right (in Kuwait, and regionally) and making the best movies? That’s a hard question for me to answer, as this past year I wasn’t as involved in the scene due to my exams and studying. But, even from my own distant knowledge I know we have many, diverse filmmakers across the region. That means they make strong and, even, fantastic films that many different audiences can enjoy.