Bahraini film, The Sleeping Tree, will have its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) on 13thDecember in a Red Carpet Gala screening in MadinatJumeirah Arena. The festival, taking place until 17thDecember, is showcasing 15 films competing in the respected Muhr Feature Awards, including The Sleeping Tree. The winner of the Muhr Feature Award will be announced in the closing ceremony on 16th December.
The Awards have aimed to nurture and reward filmmakers from the region since they launched in 2006, and are judged by a prestigious panel of five industry experts including Leonard Retel Helmrich, NadineLabaki, Malek Bensmail and Virginia Madsen. Chair of the Muhr Feature Jury this year is the internationally-renowned American Director, Lee Daniels who is best known for his Academy Award winning film, Precious (2009) and his most recent box office hit, The Butler.
Attending the Red Carpet Gala alongside the film crew and cast are a roster of film celebrities in addition to partners and fans who have flown in from Bahrain. The Sleeping Tree was shortlisted for the 2012 IWC Filmmaker Award, an award established to support talented filmmakers in the Arabian Gulf region.
Reflecting on the film’s upcoming World Premiere, director Mohammed Rashed Buali commented, ‘The tremendous vote of confidence which the DIFF brings the region’s talent cannot be underestimated as year-on-year, Arab film production grows. Although the industry remains difficult to navigate, the opportunities available to the region’s filmmakers today have grown significantly… Our experience at DIFF today is the best it has ever been and we’re all incredibly excited about the screening as it represents the first real opportunity to gauge audience reviews.’
Set within the environs of a contemporary Bahraini home, The Sleeping Tree, reveals the tensions within a family broken by their daughter’s illness. Yet, just when the parents have despaired of all hope, a series of coincidences leading to the local landmark, the Tree of Life, rebuild the couple’s faith in life and change. At the same time, truths are unchanging and the family must accept their realities.
Produced by Nooran Pictures and co-produced by the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) and the Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) in association with MoiraiCommunications, the Dubai Film Market Enjaaz and Emirates NBD, The Sleeping Tree was written by FareedRamadan and is directed by Mohammed Rashed Buali.As the first Bahraini feature film to be produced in ten years, The Sleeping Tree is also sponsored by GPIC, the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, The House of Travel, Gulf Air and Al Amin Gardens.
The Bahraini duo, Mohammed Rashed Buali and FareedRamadan, have worked together in the past on award-winning short films including Al Bishara, or The Good Omen. In addition, each has a string of films and international awards obtained for different ventures in the film industry.
The writer of the two most important Bahraini feature films, “A Bahraini tale” (2006) and “Visitor” (2004), currently Ramadan is overseeing the pre-production stages of a number of other film scripts which he has developed for international directors from Palestine and the United Arab Emirates.
An alumnus of the Berlin Talent Campus, Buali’s work has also taken him to world audiences and in 2012 he was selected as one of the 24 most promising Asian directors amongst 233 put forward for participation in theBusan International Film Festival. Similarly, he was selected by the British Council as the winner of 2012 Young Creative Entrepreneur Award (YCE).