how director maitha al awadi is wowing the big screen
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

how director Maitha Al Awadi is wowing the big screen

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today how director Maitha Al Awadi is wowing the big screen

Emirati filmmaker Maitha Al Awadi.
Dubai - Arab Today

At the age of 16, Maitha Al Awadi made the bold move of leaving her home in Dubai to embark on her bachelor’s degree in Australia. This self-reliant streak, however, didn’t always come naturally to the now 27-year-old Emirati filmmaker.
"Before moving abroad I had different plans for my future. I was a quiet bookworm who rarely went out and didn’t make new friends unless an old friend introduced me," she explains. "I didn’t even know how to open a bank account, let alone use an ATM."
Yet it was this leap of faith that helped Al Awadi find her independence and opened the door to new cultures and experiences – ones that would lead to her eventual move into the film industry.
"When I went to Melbourne and joined my course, at first I wanted to be a character animator, and hoped to make characters for the likes of Pixar or DreamWorks in the future," she explains.
"But during one class on filmmaking the professor asked each of us to come up with a logline – a one-line brief that states the central conflict of a film – to pitch in the class. All the students had to choose which ideas they wanted to work on and it was mine that they selected to make. This was when I decided to minor in film and television at the university in hopes of pursuing a career in filmmaking. I’ve been hooked ever since."
Al Awadi would eventually go on to pursue a master’s in filmmaking in Brighton, United Kingdom. This experience would allow her to develop more than 12 short films during that period, including X, which will be released at the World of Women’s Cinema – WOW Film Fair Middle East, which starts in Dubai today and runs until Wednesday, March 8.
The film explores the rollercoaster journey of a girl’s romantic relationship through the use of contemporary dance.
"The film is based on a poem, inspired by a true event that happened to me back in Australia when one of my friends was going through a very heartbreaking period in her life," she explains. "This roller coaster of falling in love to breaking up is unfortunately a repetitive cycle that people have to go through to find their partner for life," Al Awadi says, adding that she hopes the dance segments allow the audience to better understand the struggle of the main character.
X is one of 58 films to be shown at the fourth World of Women’s Cinema – WOW Film Fair Middle East, where Al Awadi is also director.
The event will include 14 filmmakers from the Middle East– among them four Emiratis – as well as others from countries across five continents. This specific focus on women in film is something Al Awadi feels is necessary in an otherwise male-dominated industry.
"It’s really important to have festivals like WOW as they not only help to recognise female talent, but also showcase their potential and abilities on a global scale and help them in their career journey," she says.
Working on a project that looks to empower women is not a particularly surprising choice for Al Awadi, as she comes from what she describes as a "female-dominated household".
"Both my grandmother and mother pushed me and my siblings to complete our education to the highest possible level as neither of them had similar opportunities," she says. "It was my mother who pushed us to pursue education abroad, hoping it would open our eyes to what life might be like without the support of a family."
Al Awadi explains that it was this experience and the support of her mother which helped her develop as a person – something she admits she couldn’t have done back home, in part due to societal pressures.


Source: The National

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