As part of its third season, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, brings a series of Arab Cinema films to the capital under the banner CinemaNa, starting from October 16.
CinemaNa will feature award-winning Arab films and renowned directors, as well as offering a host of workshops on this genre of film. Blessed Benefit by acclaimed director Mahmoud Al Massad is kicking off the series at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi.
Screening on Monday October 16 at 7.30pm in Sorbonne’s auditorium, Blessed Benefit premiered in 2016 at Toronto International Film Festival and won the NETPAC jury award for the Best Asian film, as well as the Best Acting award at Warsaw Film Festival. This silver screen brilliance from Al Massad, a director named in 2002 as the Arab Ambassador of Culture, also produced Recycle which won the World Best Cinematography Award at Sundance in 2008. Recycle will also be screened on Tuesday October 17 at 7.30pm, also in The Blue Hall.
Blessed Benefit follows Ahmad, a construction worker who ends up in prison after an unfortunate business deal goes wrong, yet life in prison has provoked Ahmad into thinking that life in a cell might be better than that on the outside.
Recycle puts the audience in the shoes of Abu Ammar, a deeply religious Jordanian man who struggles to support his two wives and eight children, as his income is collecting discarded cardboard for sale to a recycling plant. Yet his faith in both his religion and to find a publisher keeps him going, as Ammar strives to publish a book based on thousands of scraps of paper he has collected with Islamic sayings on.
Between October 16-18, Mahmoud Al Massad will hold a filmmaking workshop in which the Abu Dhabi community is invited to sign up to, here.
Over on Al Reem Island, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi will continue the CinemaNa series on Monday November 6 with Mahbas – A 2016 dramedy directed by Sophie Boutros that tells a story of two families coming together in the midst of political prejudices. While on Tuesday November 7 sees CinemaNa return to The Arts Center with the 2016 romcom directed by Fadi Haddad, When Monaliza Smiled. A love story set in present day Amman among a community of nosy stereotypes and quirky characters.
And filmmakers will once again be opened up to a world-class filmmaking workshop thanks to director Fadi Haddad and Producer, Nadia Eliewat, between November 6-8.