release date April 22 2024
Two MAD Shorts to compete at the Malmö Arab Film Festival
MAD Solutions — the MENA region’s leading film distribution agent — is sending two films from its impressive short film slate to compete at the Malmö Arab Film Festival’s Shorts Competition, which is taking place from April 22nd to the 28th in Sweden.
MAD’s mini-lineup includes Faris Alrjoob’s THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY and Amal Al-Agroobi’s LADIES COFFEE, with the first film set to screen on April 25th at 9 pm at Panora 2 as part of Short Film Package 2, and the latter on April 26th at 6 pm at the same venue as part of Short Film Package 3.
Starting with Faris Alrjoob’s German-Jordanian short THE RED SEA MAKES ME WANNA CRY — which was recently released on MUBI, making it the first Jordanian short film in MUBI’s library — the film 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.
The short film held its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival’s Quinzaine des Cinéastes and its Arab World premiere at Egypt’s Gouna Film Festival last year as well as shining in numerous renowned international film festivals worldwide, including Deutsche Kurzfilmpreis, Florence Short, Dublin, and Ibiza Independent film festivals. The film was also screened at the Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis, the International Cinematographers' Film Festival (Manaki Brothers), and the Festival du Nouveau Cinema.
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. It stars burgeoning young Jordanian actor Mohamed Nizar, 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.
As for Amal Al-Agroobi’s British short LADIES COFFEE, the short film screened at the Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) Film Festival earlier this March.
The horror film’s events start when Roula invites Zeina and her daughter Reem over for an Arabic coffee matinee. When young Reem is encouraged to participate in a coffee cup reading ritual, she gets more than she bargained for.
In true Lovecraftian fashion, the ritual goes awry – she can no longer unsee what she now sees; she can no longer unhear what she now hears, and things will never be the same again.
LADIES COFFEE is written and directed by Amal Al-Agroobi and stars Amira Al-Shanti, renowned British-Jordanian actress Rania Kurdi, Faten Omary, and Hugh Meyer.
The film was produced by Isabella Speaight of Backscatter Productions and co-produced by Catherine White of Kusini Productions. It was also lensed by Beatriz Delgado Mena and co-edited by Will Fletcher and Shawn Briggs, with Stefania Fantini handling sound mixing and Simon Porter providing its musical score.