The Dream of Shahrazad Wins Best Film Award at Luxor African Film Festival

Back to Press Releases

Currently Is Part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London

The Dream of Shahrazad Wins Best Film Award at Luxor African Film Festival

Following its MENA premiere at Luxor African Film Festival, Francois Verster's The Dream of Shahrazad won the Al-Husseini Abou-Deif Prize for the Best Freedom Film at the festival's 4th edition, which came to a close on Saturday, March 21st, 2015. In collaboration with AERWATCH Africa, the festival also granted the winning film the Golden Mask of Tutankhmen.

This comes in the run up to the film's participation at Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London. Presenting an accurate and objective view of human rights issues, the festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling.

Running from 18-27 March, 2015, Human Rights Watch Film Festival will host two screenings for The Dream of Shahrazad on the 24th and the 26th of March. The screening will be followed by discussion with filmmaker Francois Verster and producer Wael Omar.

Francois Verster's documentary, The Dream of Shahrazad, had its World Premiere within the Masters programme of the 27th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) last November. This section assembles works by the cream of the crop of the world's documentary film auteurs.

The Dream of Shahrazad traces the recent developments on the political and social levels in Egypt and Turkey in an unusually captivating way. Greatly inspired by the exotically famed story collection of 1001 Nights (aka Arabian Nights), the film merges music with political content and deploys the illustrious character of Shahrazad as a metaphor to explore how creativity and political articulation can coincide as a sharp weapon against oppression. The film features an array of individuals from different backgrounds including a Turkish youth orchestra conductor who uses Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade suite as a tool for political education; a young Lebanese actress who reconciles her past by becoming an internet activist in Egypt; an older visual artist who finds his "dream of Shahrazad" in the appearance of a beautiful young storyteller; and an Alexandrian storyteller who meets with the mothers of martyrs of the Revolution and turns their testimonies into new storytelling performances.

Development on the film started in 2006 and filming took place over the course of two years- between 2010 and 2012 - before, during and after the Arab Spring.

The Dream of Shahrazad was largely self-funded and further funding contributions were received 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.

Produced by Verster in collaboration with Wael Omar of Middle West Films; Shameela Seedat of Undercurrent Film and Television; Neil Brandt of Fireworx Media, the film was also co-produced by Fleur Knopperts and Denis Vaslin of Volya Films (Netherlands); Lucas Rosant of Melia Films (France); Serene Huleileh and Reem Abu Kishek of the Hakaya Regional Network (Jordan(.

Francois Verster is an Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker with an extensively know-how background in the fields of literature, music and cinema. Born in 1969 in South Africa, Verster holds a Master's Degree in Literature from the University of Cape Town. He then took part in a number of independent feature-length film productions before making his documentary debut, both as a director and a producer, Pavement Aristocrats (1998), which received an Avanti Award. Verster's extensive repertoire further includes A Lion's Trail (2002); received the Emmy Award in 2006, When The War is Over (2002), The Mothers' House(2006) and Sea Point Days (2009).

Screening Time of The Dream of Shahrazad at Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London(GMT):

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015, at 06:15 pm at Curzon Soho

Thursday, March 26th, 2015, at 06:30 pm at Barbican