release date June 13 2024
Six MAD Shorts heading to the Toronto Arab Film Festival
MAD Solutions is set to showcase six shorts from its distribution slate at the Toronto Arab Film Festival (TAF) — SIXTY EGYPTIAN POUNDS, THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY, CONDITIONAL DESIRE, NO KEY, THE POEM WE SANG, and BENEATH A MOTHER'S FEET.
It’s important to note that the first four shorts will be screening at Toronto’s Innis Town Hall, while the latter two will be available to watch online on the festival’s website. 
Additionally, the first three shorts in the lineup will be screened as part of the same Short Film Program on Saturday, June 22nd, at 7 pm while NO KEY will be featured in another program on Thursday, June 27th, at the same timeslot.  
Here’s a quick rundown on every short heading to the TAF:

    • Amr Salama’s SIXTY EGYPTIAN POUNDS follows aspiring rapper Ziad and his family, who have long suffered at the hands of his abusive father. However, when tensions reach a boiling point, Ziad takes it upon himself to end his family’s suffering once and for all.

The film received generally favorable reviews after its El Gouna premiere for its bold subject matter, impeccable performances, beautiful cinematography, and masterful editing, with Farida Salem of What Woman Want Magazine hailing it as a “thrilling film [that] advocates for all victims of violence and rebukes abusive parents,” and describing it as “raw, liberating, and moving.”

    • One of the first two Jordanian films to make it to Cannes, Faris Alrjoob’s THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY 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.

Aside from becoming available for streaming on MUBI this month, THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY also recently won the Best Connecting Cultures Film Award at the Ghent International Short Film Festival and the Gouna Film Festival's Silver Star for Short Films.

    • Houcem Slouli's CONDITIONAL DESIRE is a 15-minute Tunisian drama that follows Ahmed and Salma, who, despite residing in a society that values conformity, strive to remain honest with themselves. However, they find themselves grappling with a heart-wrenching psychological burden as they sacrifice their happiness to meet the expectations of others.

Previously, the film was featured as part of the Short Film Competition of the Silicon Valley African Film Festival and won the Best Short Film Award at Turkey’s Accessible Film Festival.

    • Walid Messnaoui’s multi-award-winning short NO KEY follows a young burglar named Amine, who in his desperate hunt for a way out of his gloomy existence on the rough streets of Casablanca, discovers a sealed jewelry box that represents his ticket to a brighter future in Europe. 

However, when other gangs find out what’s in his possession, he must brave their treacherous terrain and face his own demons to keep his dream alive.
NO KEY world premiered at the Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival and has 11 awards under its belt, five of which from the Indie Short Fest - Los Angeles International Film Festival — Best Crime Short (Outstanding Achievement Award), Best Short of the Season, Best First-Time Director, Best Sound Design, and Best Special Makeup.

    • Annie Sakkab’s documentary short THE POEM WE SANG follows a Palestinian director as she ruminates on the generational trauma caused by the loss of a family home and forced migration, transforming lifelong regrets into a healing journey of creative catharsis and bearing witness.

Aside from premiering at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, THE POEM WE SANG has been on quite the festival tour, making its way to the Vancouver and Norwegian Short film festivals, to name but a few.

    • Elias Suhail’s BENEATH A MOTHER’S FEET follows Wedad, a young mother burdened by the weight of motherhood and family duty, moving through her days with quiet resilience. As she navigates the crowded marketplace, the minutiae of her life speak of a yearning for something beyond the confines of her existence.