Its Second Award in the Span of One Month
The Dream of Shahrazad Gains Certificate of Appreciation at Malmo Arab Film Festival in Sweden
Director Francois Verster's documentary film The Dream of Shahrazad continues its awar-winning international film festival tour having recently won the Certificate of Appreciation at the 5th Malmo Arab Film Festival in Sweden (MAFF), which ended last Tuesday, within the Documentary Film Competition. Film Analyst Alaa Karkouti, CEO and Co-founder of the film's distributor MAD Solutions, received the award on behalf of the filmmakers.
The Dream of Shahrazad's MAFF participation comes just one month after its Best Film win at the Avanca Film Festival in Portugal within the International Television competition; following a Best Documentary film win at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa last July.
The Dream of Shahrazad landed its world premiere within the 27th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November 2014 within the Masters section, which comprises the most significant documentary films by outstanding international filmmakers. The film went on to win the Husseiny Abu Deif Award for Best Film at the Luxor African Film Festival. It also took part in several festivals, including the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London where audiences flocked to the full-house film screening, and the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF.)
The Dream of Shahrazad explores recent social and political events in Turkey and Cairo through the lens of the famous story collection The 1001 Nights (aka Arabian Nights), using the fabled storytelling princess Shahrazad as a metaphor to explore how creativity and political articulation can coincide against oppression. A Turkish youth orchestra conductor uses Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade suite as a tool for political education; a young Lebanese actress reconciles her past by becoming an internet activist in Egypt; an older visual artist finds his "dream of Shahrazad" in the appearance of a beautiful young storyteller; an Alexandrian storyteller together with a Cairean theatre troupe meets with the mothers of martyrs of the Revolution and turns their testimonies into new storytelling performances.
The Dream of Shahrazad received support from the South African National Film & Video Foundation, the IDFA/Bertha Fund, the Sundance Documentary Fund, Spier Films, the CBA Worldview Fund, the Netherlands Film Fund, the European Union and Afri Docs.
It was produced by Verster in collaboration with Wael Omar of Middlewest Films; Shameela Seedat of Undercurrent Film and Television and Neil Brandt of Fireworx Media, and in coproduction with Fleur Knopperts and Denis Vaslin of Volya Films (Netherlands), Lucas Rosant of Melia Films (France), and Serene Huleileh and Reem Abu Kishek of the Hakaya Regional Network (Jordan(.
Francois Verster is an independent documentary Emmy awarded filmmaker with musical, cinematic and literature various backgrounds. Verster was born in 1969 in Cape Town, South Africa. He earned his MA in literature from the University of Cape Town then he participated in number of independent feature films before his first Avanti awarded documentary Pavement Aristocrats (1998) as a director and producer. After that, he directed and produced number of internationally awarded films such as; the Emmy awarded in 2006 A Lion's Trial (2002), When the War is Over (2002), The Mother's House (2006) and Sea Point Days (2009.)