CHRISTINE by Mounia Akl, Lebanon
ORMAN by Onur Saylak & Dogu Yasar Akal, Turkey
SAHAR by Alexander Farah, Afghanistan/Canada
TORNISTAN by Ayce Kartal, Turkey 

. Cairo, Egypt | Room Art Space - October 25, 7:00 PM
. Alexandria, Egypt | Gudran/Wekalet Behna - October 29, 7:30 PM
. Abu Dhabi, UAE | The Space, twofour54 - December 6, 7:00 PM
. Sharjah, UAE | Sharjah Art Foundation - December 12, 8:30 PM
. Dubai, UAE | A4 Space - January 22-23, 2016 | 10am-7pm on loop
Part of Quoz Arts Festival in collaboration with Cinema Akil
. Beirut, Lebanon | Cinemacity - June 1, 2016 | 8:30 PM in collaboration with the Lebanese Film Festival


written & directed by Mounia Akl
cast: Wafaa' Halawi, Christine Choueiry
producers: Cyril Aris & Leia Hasrouty

In an isolated Lebanese convent, Sister Christine struggles to keep her beloved disciple, Lilya, from a permanent departure, only to discover that her feelings are beyond maternal.

Awards & festivals
Best Creative Short (Cervantes Award) - MED Film Festival, Rome
Best Foreign Language Film - NYC Shorts Film Festival
Best of 2014 - Miami Short Film Festival
Palm Springs International Short Film Festival
Rhodes Island Film Festival
New Orleans Film Festival
MED Film Festival, Rome
NYC Shorts Film Festival
Miami Short Film Festival
Breakthrough Film Festival
Provincetown International Short Film Festival

About director
Mounia is an award winning Lebanese writer, director and actress based in New York City. Previous credits include TV/Web-series “Beirut, I Love You”, broadcast on LBC, Yahoo’s series “Fasateen”, produced by Emmy-winners Batoota Films (Jury Prize in Marseille Web Fest), and various short films. Her last film, “Christine”, premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and was selected at other esteemed festivals such as Rhode Island Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival and Miami Film Festival. The film also garnered awards for Best Film and Best International film at Rome's MedFilm Festival and at the NYC Short Film Festival, respectively and was screened as part of New Filmmakers NY at the Anthology Film Archives and at the Rhodes Island School Of Design as part of a masterclass. Cyril Aris’ film “Siham”, in which she acted and produced, won the Jury Prize at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and screened at festivals such as Raindance film festival and Woodstock film festival. Mounia recently finished shooting a short film in Woodstock in which she also acted and which is part of an omnibus feature film. She is currently earning an MFA Degree in Directing from Columbia University, where she has taught film theory as an assistant to Richard Peña, former Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This August, in Lebanon, she will shoot her next short film "Lydia doesn't cry" which is an exploration of the protagonist of her first feature.


directed by Onur Saylak & Doğu Yaşar Akal
written by Hakan Günday, Doğu Yaşar Aka & Onur Saylak
Cast: Selim Bayraktar, Muhammet Uzuner, Tuba Büyüküstün, 
Mustafa Uğurlu, Mavi Mercan
produced by Ziya Cemre Kutluay - b.i.t arts

In the heart of Istanbul, the forest of nothingness and a mega city, Omar and his daughter struggle for their lives after fleeing the war in Syria. In this city witnessing all the sorrows and pleasures of the world, Omar, who was once a Public Works officer in his homeland, starts living like a beggar and tries to build his life on an utter obscurity. He pounds the pavement and begs for help with his daughters. The only source of income he could find is catching stray animals and selling them to Fahri, the pet shop owner. One day, however, Fahri comes to Omar with a strange request: He wants Omar to catch snakes in the forest at the outskirts of the city.

Awards & festivals
NewFilmmakers New York - Official Summer Selection 2015
Festival of Globe SF (Aug. 2015, San Francisco, USA)
FOG Award of Distinction Acting: Selim Bayraktar
FOG Award of Direction: Onur Saylak & Dogu Akal
22. Adana Golden Boll Mediterranean Short Film Competition (Sep. 2015, Adana, TR

About the directors
Dogu Akal (1985, Ankara) started his directing career as a theatre director. After graduating from Bilkent University, Art of Directing Performing Arts (2009), he directed several plays (forincluding State Theatre of Turkey). He has founded Ray Performance Collective and toured around east states of Turkey. “The Jungle” is his first short film.

Onur Saylak (1977, Ankara) has been in the cinema scene since 2006. Started as an actor, he is well-known with his first performance in Ozcan Alper’s “Autumn”. “The Jungle” is the first piece of him as a director.


written & directed by Alexander Farah
produced by Alireza Taale
cast: Behtash Fazlali, Panthea Vatandoost, Mohammad Sarwari, Soheila Vatandoost

Nadim's parents struggle to understand the carefree and westernized lifestyle of their daughter Sahar. With tension high and tolerance low, the household remains at a standstill, waiting for her to come home. 

Awards & Festivals
Toronto International Film Festival 2014
Best Director, Best Actor & Best Student Film at Vancouver Short Film Festival 2014
Best Student Film at Yorkton Film Festival 2015
Nominated for five Leo Awards Best Short Drama, Best Direction, Best Picture Editing, Best Performance by a Male in a Short Drama, Best Performance by a Female in a Short Drama
Festival du Nouveau Cinema 2014
Vancouver Short Film Festival 2014
Whistler Film Festival 2014
Telefilm Canadian Cultural Centre Short N' Sweet 2015
Australia Human Rights Arts & Film Festival 2015

About the director
Alexander Farah is an Afghan-Canadian filmmaker residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a graduate of the Film, Video and Integrated Media Program at the Emily Carr University of Art & Design. Sahar, his directorial debut, premiered at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. 



written & directed by Aycal Kartal
produced by Les Valseurs

June 2013. Demonstrators occupy Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi park. While the tension and police brutality rise in the streets, the turkish TV broadcasts documentaries about penguins. Tornistan is a self-censored film criticizing this press censorship.

Awards & festivals
AKBANK Short Film Festival | Best Animation Film
Radical Democracy Video Challenge | Best Film Award  
25th International Short Film Festival | 2nd Prize
Corto Lovere | Best Foreign Film
20th International Adana Golden Boll Film Festival, Mediterranean Countries Short Film Competition | Best Animated Film Award | Adana (2013)
25th International Ankara Film Festival | 2nd. Prize | Ankara
The Economist video contest | 1st Prize
Festival des Très Courts | Grand Prix

About the director
In 2000, Ayce Kartal graduated from Anadolu University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Animation Department. Between 2000 and 2004 artist worked as a Research Assistant and finished his MFA at the same department. After completing the Time Based Arts Pre-PhD Program in UNSW Sydney, Australia, he won a scholarship from New York Film Academy, Film Directing Program and graduated from the academy in 2009. As an award winner director, Ayce Kartal has participated in many national and international film festivals and brought the first international success, the Best Animated Film Award, to Turkey in 2008.


directed & produced by Omar El Zohairy
written by Sherif Naguib
cast: Samy Sayed

Fear is an instinct lying under the skin. But what if it mutates?

Awards & festivals
Official selection cannes film festival - Cinefondation compétition
Winner Best Student Film at Palm Springs International Shortfest
Special Jury Prize for Visual Storytelling at Nashville Film Festival
Best Short Film at 12th Bogota Short Film Festival
Jury prize 8th Kustendorf Film Festival
Special Prize at 21st Etiuda and Anima International Film Festival
Golden prize 3rd Luxor Egyptian & European Film Festival
20th Med Film Festival, Italy
12th Dokufest International Short Film Festival, Kosovo
37th Mill Valley International Film Festival
36th Cinemed Montpellier Festival of Mediterranean Film
25th Stockholm International Film Festival, Sweden
16th CinéSud African film festival 2015, France
2nd Sudan Independent Film Festival
8th LICHTER International Film Festival
3rd Film Festival Cinema Arabe, Amsterdam
20th Vilnius International Film Festival, Lithuania
8th Festival de cine Al Este de Lima, Peru
8th Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya, Lebanon

About the director
Born in Cairo in 1988. He studied film directing at the High Institute of Cinema in Cairo. During his studies, he worked as an assistant for Yosry Nasrallah and Ahmed Abdallah, among many other prominent film directors of Egypt. His first short feature film Breathe Out premiered at the 8th Dubai Film Festival and won the Jury Special Mention Prize at Muhr Arab Short Competition. Breathe Out competed at the 34th Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival – Cinemed. His second short, The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375, was selected by the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation 2014. It was the 1st Egyptian film to be selected in this competition.

What is Cinephilia Filmmakers to Watch Series?

Launched in 2013, Cinephilia Filmmakers to Watch series is an annual program that highlights the work of unique and remarkable voices from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Cinephilia curates 5 narrative short films and sets them to screen around the world at art house independent cinemas, art galleries, film festivals and cultural spaces. 


Countries featured:
Middle East & territories: Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Cyprus.
Africa: ALL
Southeast Europe: Malta & Greece
South/Southeast Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.