release date June 10 2024
MAR MAMA and THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY selected to compete at 36th Palm Springs International Film Festival
MAD Solutions, the MENA region’s leading film distribution agent, is sending two films from its extensive short film slate to screen and compete at the Palm Springs International Film Festival (ShortFest), which is scheduled to take place from June 18th to the 24th in California, US — Majdi El-Omari’s MAR MAMA and Faris Alrjoob’s THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY.
THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY will be competing for two jury awards: Best Live-Action Short Over 15 Minutes and Best Student International Short. The film will be screening on Wednesday, June 19th at 2:30 pm at Regal 1.
Meanwhile, MAR MAMA is in the running for the Bridging the Borders Jury Award and is set to screen on Thursday, June 20th at 3 pm at Regal 6.
Alrjoob’s Jordanian thriller THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY — which was recently released on film streaming giant MUBI, becoming the first Jordanian short in MUBI’s library — recently screened at the Independent Film Festival in Boston and the Malmö Arab Film Festival, and won the Best Connecting Cultures Film Award at the Ghent International Short Film Festival and the El Gouna Film Festival's Silver Star for Short Films. 
Before that, it held its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival’s Quinzaine des Cinéastes and has since made its way to numerous renowned international film festivals worldwide.
The romantic thriller — which is one of the two first-ever Jordanian films to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival — follows a haunted Ida, who travels to the liminal site of her partner’s disappearance in an attempt to feel his presence one last time and to say goodbye.
THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY is directed, written, and co-produced by Faris Alrjoob and co-written by Matthew LaPaglia, while Luisa Stricker and Luma Al Hamarneh co-produced it. 
The film stars burgeoning young Jordanian actor Mohamed Nizar, as well as Clara Schwinning, Emmy-nominated journalist-actor Ahmed Shihab Eldin, and Anwar Khalil. The short film was also lensed by Mahmoud Belakhel and edited by Benedikt Strick.
On the other hand, Majdi El-Omari’s Palestinian drama MAR MAMA recently held a special screening at Tulane University in New Orleans and screened at the Annaba Mediterranean Film Festival, the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, and the Houston Palestine Film Festival.
The short also recently took home the Best Fiction Short Award of the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts, where it held its MENA premiere as part of the festival’s Short Film Competition.
The film, which world-premiered at Ireland’s Indie Cork Festival and screened at Italy’s Al Ard Film Festival, delves into the story of a young girl haunted by her mother's death and the recurring attacks on her city. Faced with these traumas, she becomes obsessed with death. 
As her father attempts to distract her by creating a stop-motion film, reality intrudes, and yet, she finds solace in her imagination and fantasies.
The film's production is a collaboration between Marsam 301 and Phoenix Films, with support from the Palestinian Ministry of Culture through the Palestinian Cultural Fund and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. 
Written, directed, edited, and produced by El-Omari and lensed by Ashraf Dowani, MAR MAMA features a talented cast, including the award-winning Palestinian actor Ziad Bakri — who is known for SCREWDRIVER and Netflix’s THE WEEKEND AWAY — and Lana Abu Srour.