Sharjah, UAE. October 13, 2023 – A team of five student filmmakers from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) from American University of Sharjah (AUS) has been awarded Best Film for their production Greedy Gaia in a competition supported by Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) as part of the Young Filmmakers' Circle initiative.
The film hackathon was the final segment in the inaugural edition of CAAD Kino, a program curated by Cairo-based design-film festival Film My Design which was held on campus throughout September and October 2023. The program included seven original films by regional and international filmmakers who presented tales of resilient design, food culture and environment amid climate change under the title “Earthscape Chronicles”.
Taking home the top award for the overall best film created within the 48-hour time limit along with Best Art Direction award, the team behind Greedy Gaia included director Noura Abbas, producer Dina Khalaf, production team members Zeina Khalaf and Farah Khaled and motion graphics designer Hala Abu Rob. The film was selected for its excellence in storytelling, production quality, and creativity. The film offers an unconventional take on sustainability, shifting focus from the oppressed to the oppressor. Gaia, a self-indulgent teenager pretends to champion sustainable fashion while secretly indulging in fast fashion excess. Greedy Gaia offers a thought-provoking journey, ultimately questioning the true impact of our choices on the environment.
Along with six other teams of CAAD multimedia students, they shot and edited their unique short films over two days with the aim of shedding light on sustainability, environmental awareness, or social issues related to the fields of design, architecture, or food production.
The films were screened at a ceremony at CAAD on October 12 which was attended by ADMAF Manager of Education and Community, Dr. Redha Benabdallah, along with special guests Acting Consul General of the United States in Dubai Patrick Tanimura and Dr. Danielle Wood, representing the MIT Media Lab research group Space Enabled.
Dr. Zinka Bejtic, Head of Department of Art and Design said this first edition of CAAD Kino has provided an opportunity to address the urgent need for ecological stewardship.
“The realms of design, architecture, food, materials, and landscapes have become fertile grounds for exploring the themes of sustainability and climate change. The CAAD KINO Hackathon provided an opportunity for students to add their voices to these important conversations about the complex relationship between human activity and the environment,” she said.
Her Excellency Huda Alkhamis Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival said: “We are proud to organize the film hackathon in partnership with American University of Sharjah, the Cairo design film festival, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This partnership reflects our commitment to nurturing, and supporting Emirati talents in the film industry as part of our young filmmakers circle initiative. In addition, it has enhanced the capabilities of the young directors by exposing them to leading experts in cinematic direction. I congratulate the winners of this year‘s film hackathon for their creativity and exceptional talent for producing short films. I also commend the rest of the participating students who through film have addressed the inspiring environmental and Sustainability goals of the competition. This reflects our vision to enhance sustainability through the arts, architecture, and design.”
Other awards included: Best Director (Maria Beirakdar, Kartha); Best Screenplay (Kaylani Narayan, Laura Grant, Taif Al Ebrahim and Ayesha Nnhhadiwala, Frequency); Best Cinematography (Wenxuan Sui and Marim Sharaf, Man vs Nature); Best Editing (Nomena Rakotonirina, Mariam Mansour and Khushi Arora, The Silent Consequences); Best Acting (Farah Diab, Kartha); Best Sound Design (Maram Alisawi and Yara Ismail, Planet/People); Best Experimental Film (Lana Amini, Fahda Albabtain, Hind Alshamsi, Maryam Khalil, Jana Khalifa, Bound).