Sepy Baghaei, an Iranian theatre director who serves as Co-Vice Chair for MENA Arts UK announces our winners:
“We received 53 applications for the competition, and were blown away by the high standard, creativity and ambition of all the ideas submitted. Our winning eight ideas are an eclectic mix, and feature animation, set design, poetry and music. Their makers are from all around the country - including Liverpool and the West Midlands - and are connected to MENA regions including Iran, Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. I am so excited to see these films come to life, and to share their celebrations of MENA+ identity with a wider audience.”
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Photo credit: Robin Clewle
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Photo credit: Ray Roberts
Amina Atiq is a Yemeni–Scouse poet, performance artist and activist. Award winning for her active & community engagement work, Curious Minds Young Associate for and BBC Words First Finalist 19. She is currently writing her first one-woman show, Broken Biscuits to explore her gran-mothers 1970s Yemeni- Scouse household to untangle what it means to be British. She is currently a remote writer in residence with Queensland Poetry Festival and Metal Southend.
Bint Mbareh is a first-time filmmaker with experience in television production, songwriting and an interest in sound. Her most recent research was an exploration of how rain-summoning song and ritual in Palestine acted and may continue to act as a ritual of time-bending. Several installations and performances down the line, the singer was offered the MENA Arts UK grant to explore death with the Palestinian sonic and musical tradition in mind.
Jida Akil is a Syrian/Lebanese early-career theatre designer currently based between London & Cyprus. She designs set & costume for both theatre and dance with a design-led devising approach. The themes of her work often revolve around political and socio-economic issues which also explore dramaturgy inspired by lived experience. Jida is currently completing her bachelor's degree in Performance Design at Central Saint Martins.
Majid Adin studied fine art and animation in Iran, where he was arrested because of the political nature of his work. He fled his country and arrived in the UK in 2016. He now lives in London and works as an artist. He won a prestigious competition to create the official music video for Sir Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’. He is currently working on his first graphic novel, ‘Hamid and Shakespeare’ which will be published in April 2021.
Maral Mamaghanizadeh is a Deaf Iranian artist. Her work explores the barriers she encounters in everyday life, being Deaf, female and a refugee. Maral communicates through her artworks, combining feminism and cultural politics. In 2017, Maral became a political refugee as her work, ‘The Politics of Voice; The Tale of Tresses’ directly challenged the patriarchal society in Iran. Her work continues to challenge stereotypes, break boundaries and open people’s hearts and minds.
May Ziade is French-Lebanese and works on other people's films and her own. She has written stories and poems that were adapted into comics and short films, and worked as a producer’s assistant on high-budget productions. She is currently working on her first short-film, 'Neo-Nahda'.
Nooriyah Qais is a DJ, presenter and filmmaker. As a DJ, she is known for playing upbeat popular records infused with Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) sounds, paying homage to her heritage. She is currently a MENA specialist resident at Foundation FM and Plus 1 Radio. As a filmmaker, she explores the themes of home, culture and gender with films showcased at the V&A Museum, Liverpool Arab Arts festival and more.
Peyvand Sadeghian is an Actor, Puppeteer and Theatre Maker born, bred and based in London to Iranian and Chinese parents. Recent credits include: DUAL دوگانه (Vault Festival Show of the Week 2020), Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran (Fringe First 2019). Although she has experience in front of the screen, this will be her first time making a short film.
Our exciting panel of industry professionals judging panel also comprising of Sabrina Mahfouz (playwright/poet), Hannah Khalil (playwright), Saeed Taji Farouky (film director).
This work has been supported by the Film and TV Charity and Arts Council England.