Landing its US Premiere
Short Film Manara at New Filmmakers Los Angeles
Lebanese short film Manara by Zayn Alexander will land its US premiere at this yearÂ’s virtual NewFilmmakers Los Angeles. The film will be screened through the festivalÂ’s official website on Saturday, December 12, 2020. The screening is co-organized and co-hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Dutch Culture USA (Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York) and the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI). A panel discussion with the directors will follow the screening.
Tickets are available through the following link:
Director Zayn Alexander commented on the film saying: Â“This film stemmed from a heartfelt critique of Lebanese cultureÂ’s obsession with appearances." Â“We felt compelled to examine how that takes a toll on families and how each member responds to loss, and grief that comes with it, under the public eye.Â” he added. In a coastal town in Southern Lebanon, the Zayyad family seemed to have it all: a hotel by the sea, a lasting marriage, and strong family ties. But this seemingly perfect portrait takes a hit when the father dies under mysterious circumstances. Alia, the bereaved wife, is intent on lying about her husbandÂ’s cause of death in order to maintain appearances, despite the vehement objections of her adult children, Rami and Noura. One hour before the mournersÂ’ arrival, and still struggling to agree on a course of action, Alia, Noura and Rami are forced to reevaluate the long dysfunctional family dynamic that brought them here in the first place.
The film landed its world premiere during the 76 th Venice Film Festival (Venice Days) and participated in the Carthage Film Festival (JCC) and won 4 awards; The Ahmed Khedr Award for Excellence in Arab Filmmaking at Ă‰CU The European Independent Film Festival, Laguna Sud Award for Best Short Film at Laguna Sud, Silver Hypatia Award for Best Narrative Short Film - Alexandria Short Film Festival and Best Actor Award at Elba Film Festival in Toscana, Italy.
Directed by Zayn Alexander and written by Lebanese-American writer and actress Pascale Seigneurie, who co-stars in it along with Hala Basma Safieddine and director Zayn Alexander, the film is produced by ZMA Entertainment. The filmÂ’s distribution in the Arab world is handled by MAD Solutions.
Zayn Alexander is a New York-based actor and director of Lebanese origin. Alexander began his career when he moved to New York City in 2010. He made his foray into acting in the 2012 drama The Defector. In 2018, AlexanderÂ’s directorial debut, Abroad, made its world premiere at the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival. AlexanderÂ’s second directorial effort Manara screened at the 76th Venice Film Festival in the Giornate degli Autori section (Venice Days) in 2019.