Emirati short film 'Athel' grabs global spotlight
It is based on events in the life of pre-Islamic poet Tarfa Bin Al-Abd.
Emirati short film Athel is going places. Based on actual events in the life of pre-Islamic poet Tarfa Bin Al-Abd, the short film has taken top honours at film festivals in Europe and the US.
Athel is directed by Alyazia bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, the daughter of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence. It is produced by two Emirati companies, Toaster Productions and Anasy Media.
Egyptian actress Hala Shiha and Emirati actor Mansour Alfeeli are starring in this film shot mainly in the deserts of Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi.
It focuses on the life of a young poet Tarfa, who was killed at the height of his glory because of a rumour with regards to verses of his poetry.
Actor Alfeeli said the short film seeks to shed light on the truth about the poet's life. "We wanted to highlight the need to follow the truth. Sometimes there is a buzz in the market about something or someone will create a story on somebody but we never know the reach of such small talks. Somebody had spread the word about something wrong told by the poet, which he had never said but he was killed because of that rumour. This happened for real. This is a real story," the Emirati actor told Khaleej Times.
"Poets have a very important place in our history," Alfeeli added.
Athel recently picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Berlin Flash Film Festival and the Gold Remi Award at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival. It was among the officially selected short films at the Madrid International Film Festival and nominated for awards at film festivals in Toronto, Amsterdam and Vienna.
Afra Almarar, a co-producer, said the team was proud to have won awards internationally.
"We started filming in March 2019. We did a lot of CG (computer graphics) work. So the final product took some time. Then we started taking it to the film festivals. We are proud to have won international awards. As UAE nationals, we are dedicated to producing short films and representing the country internationally."
Athel is on an international tour and will be screened at more film festivals.