Although much of the Middle East is still under lockdown or practicing social distancing measures, that hasn’t stopped the region’s creative communities from finding imaginative new ways to connect with one another and share their craft. In this ongoing virtual era, online masterclasses and conversation series are once-in-a-lifetime ways viewers are given an intimate glimpse into the world’s brightest minds.
The Royal Film Commission of Jordan recently launched one such initiative, inviting film buffs for a chance to learn the ins and outs of cinema from the Arab world’s leading filmmakers, screenwriters, directors, and producers. Named Tallat, the one-hour Zoom discussions convene the who’s who in regional cinema for an insiders’ look into their creative process and inspiration as well as a window into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the film industry and their personal projects.
A star-studded lineup have already kickstarted these sessions, including The Hurt Locker’s Jordanian screenwriter and director Bassel Ghandour, pioneering Egyptian screenwriter Mariam Naoum, Jordanian producer and director Rula Nasser behind the UAE-made film Scales, and Palme d’Or nominee Egyptian writer and director Abu Bakr Shawky, among other successful homegrown talents.
This week, film analyst and co-founder of Arab Cinema Center Alaa Karkouti will appear on today’s installment of this interactive Q&A series tomorrow, May 1, UAE-based Palestinian film critic Ola Al-Sheikh will share her insights with enthusiasts watching from their screens.
Cinemaphiles who have missed past sessions or are unable to tune into these upcoming calls live can head to the Royal Film Commission of Jordan’s YouTube page for recorded versions and check on the Commission’s Facebook for future updates and scheduled speakers.