Bird Watch - Ep 2: "Health"

Zahra Al-Mahdi | 4 min | Kuwait | 2016

SYNOPSIS
Bird Watch is a mockumentary mini-series that documents Kuwait and the mean-region from the perspective of peripheral and/or minorities. The second episode, titled "Health", is about a child's point of view of a healthful lifestyle.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Shorts Program: Fragile Lives
2:00 PM | Friday, March 9, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Writer, Director | Zahra Al-Mahdi
Little Girl | Layla
Little Boy | Yousef
Man | Jassim Burhama
Stomach animal | Sheep.

DIRECTOR'S BIO
Zahra Al-Mahdi (1989) is an English Literature graduate from Kuwait University, College of Arts. She is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her debut graphic novel titled We, The Borrowed was published in 2016, and she is currently working on her online miniseries Bird Watch. Zahra is also enrolled in Kuwait University's Master's program in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies.


Bluebrain Year 8

Noah Hutton | 15 min | USA/Switzerland | 2018

SYNOPSIS
Begun in 2009, Bluebrain is director Noah Hutton’s 10-year film-in-the-making that chronicles the twists and turns of the Blue Brain Project—neuroscientist Henry Markram’s audacious and controversial attempt to reverse-engineer a human brain, neuron by neuron, in a massive virtual simulation on supercomputers. For the past 8 years, through his exclusive access to the project personnel and Markram’s facilities on the EPFL campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, Hutton has been steadily building towards a documentary feature set for release in 2020. With excerpts already featured in Scientific American and VICE, the film will also track several other major endeavors to understand the brain, including President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative and the Allen Institute in Seattle.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Shorts Program: Hybrid Creatures
2:00 PM | Saturday, March 10, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Writer, Director | Noah Hutton

DIRECTOR'S BIO
Noah Hutton is a film director and founder of the website The Beautiful Brain. He has presented on art and neuroscience at the Impakt Festival, Venice Biennale, Wellcome Collection, Rubin Museum of Art, and elsewhere. In 2015 he was named a Salzburg Global Fellow in Neuroscience and Art, and created Brain City, a multi-platform installation commissioned by NYC’s Times Square Arts Alliance. He is in the seventh year of work on his film Bluebrain, a 10-year documentary-in-the-making about the Human Brain Project, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Previously he directed the award-winning documentary features Deep Time (SXSW 2015) and Crude Independence (SXSW 2009). Noah graduated from Wesleyan University, where he studied art history and neuroscience.


Insān

Alexis Gambis | 13 min | 2017

SYNOPSIS
A young man with a stutter shares with us the story of the first speaking Arabian Oryx "Mozaik" that changed the course of his life and for that matter the future of humankind.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Closing Feature: Marjorie Prime
7:30 PM | Saturday, March 10, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Written and Directed | Alexis Gambis
Featuring | Shakhbout Al Kaabi, Reem Almenhali
Cinematography | Koh Terai
Produced | Amal Al Gergawi
Original Score | Cristobal Maryan
Assistant Editor & Translator | Jana Jarrar
Sound Recordist | Andrea Chung
Sound Designer | amuel Nacach
Boom Operator | Maddie Moore
Production Assistant | Shea Sweeney
Assistant Camera | Roland Folkmayer
Camera B Unit | Samuel Ridgeway, Miraflor Santos
Animation & Visual Effects | James Hosken
Script Supervisor | Özge Calafato
Newborn Oryx footage provided by | Justin Chauven
Poetry written by | Reem Almenhali

Special Thanks  | Environment Abu Dhabi Agency, Justin Chuven & his team at Deleika Holding Center, James Duthie, Manisha Balakrishna, Pillai Mariam Sultan Al Qassimi, Al Ain Zoo & Sheikh Zayed Learning Center, Amr Abukuhail, NYU Abu Dhabi

Language Lab | Kyriaki Neophytou, Graham Flick, Alec Marantz
NYU Production Lab | Maruan Manaja, Terry May

DIRECTOR'S BIO
 Alexis Gambis is a filmmaker and a biologist whose interdisciplinary work aims at transforming the way science is communicated to the public through film and visual arts. He received his PhD in Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University and a Masters in Fine Arts from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. His first feature film The Fly Room about the birthplace of genetics in New York has toured festivals and academic institutions worldwide ending with a theatrical release in New York, Paris, and Berlin in the fall of 2017. He has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Nature, Cell, TED, and WNYC. At NYU, he teaches in both the Biology and Film departments. His courses combine scientific research and storytelling often featuring animals as actors and blurring the lines between fact and fiction. He is also the founder and executive director of the Imagine Science Films, an annual science film festival now celebrating its 10th anniversary. He also recently launched LABOCINE, a science film platform, research video database and magazine coined by reviewers as the "science new wave." He is currently working on his second feature Son of Monarchs about a boy who wants to turn into a monarch butterfly - it brings together in a narrative drama the themes of evolutionary biology, migration and (im)migration.


I, Loneliness Gadget

Can Eren | 13 min | Turkey | 2017

SYNOPSIS
Hasan Ali spends his life at home with gadgets. As the simulator that is expected to erase the feeling of loneliness breaks down his secure life changes drastically. He faces his loneliness and to overcome it he buys a pet human. The film tackles how consumption society patterns redefine the concepts of human and product.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Closing Feature: Marjorie Prime
7:30 PM | Saturday, March 10, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Writer, Director | Can Eren
Producer | Beste Yamalioglu
Director of Photography | Bilhan Altay
Editing | Osman Bayraktaroglu

DIRECTOR'S BIO
Can Eren worked with an Italian film company as a DP in 2009. He graduated from Bilgi University Film Television and Visual Communication Design Departments in 2011 (double major). He completed his MA in Istanbul Bilgi University Film Television. He made 7 short films including some documentaries. One of his shorts Baydara 'Fate of Edra' is awarded with the best feature short film in one of the most respectable festivals in Turkey, Adana International Golden Boll. He is the co-founder and currently working in Ehemm Production. Recently, he has made a Mexican co-production with the short film El Matador that was in the competition in Guanajuato Film Festival, Batumi International Art House Film Festival and International Short and Independent Film Festival. As his MA graduation project he has made a short film named I, Loneliness Gadget. Currently he is developing Jack in the Box, a feature fiction film project that is selected to MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2016. He is working with Ivo Trajkov as the script advisor on the project. He is one of the trainers of Meetings on the Bridge Short Film Workshop.


We Are Just Fine Like This

Mehdi M. Barsaoui | 8 min | Tunisia | 2016

SYNOPSIS
Baba Azizi is an old man. He finds himself at his daughter’s for a couple of days. An umpteenth ordeal in perspective... but things will not go as he imagined.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Shorts Program: Fragile Lives
2:00 PM | Friday, March 19, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Writer, Director | Mehdi M. Barsaoui

DIRECTOR'S BIO
Born and raised in Tunis, Mehdi is a graduate of the Higher Institute of Multimedia Arts in Tunis and DAMS in Bologna, Italy. He directed three short-features, selected and multi-awarded in many international film festivals. He is currently developing his first feature film project entitled A SON.


The Breeder

Demelza Kooij | 12 min | Scotland | 2017

SYNOPSIS
Always wanted an extra fluffy rabbit, a legless cat, or a dog on two legs?
Dr Schönbacher's new app makes it easy for you to design and order your own! The Breeder tells the story of a scientist who uses genetic modification to design custom-made pets. These hyper-cute creatures melt hearts worldwide, but there is a dark side to their irresistible begging eyes...

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Shorts Program: Hybrid Creatures
2:00 PM | Saturday, March 10, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Directed and Story by | Demelza Kooij
Screenplay |Chris Lindsay
Producer | Anita Norfolk

Cast
Dr Gaia Schönbacher | Charlotte Hunter
Adam | Trevor Murphy

Voice #1 | Clare Fisher, La Trobe University Australia
Voice #2 | Dr Joyce Goggin, University of Amsterdam

Animator | Pepijn Schroeijers
Director of Photography | Joris Cottin
Assistant Camera | Thomas Aitken
Gaffer and Clapper Loader – Bětka Kovandová
Assistant Director | Federico Barni
Assistant Producer | Janine Koppe
Casting Director | Federico Barni
Location Sound Recordist | Liz Greene
Additional Sound Recording | Demelza Kooij, Lars Koens
Runner | Amy Chidlow
Make-up Artist | Sophie McGuffie
Editors | Demelza Kooij, Federico Barni
Sound Design | Lars Koens
Music Composer | Lars Koens
Executive Producers | Alexis Gambis & Lauren Kaye

Archive | with special thanks to:
Cuba | Julie LeRoy
Turbo Roo | Ashley Looper
Pug | David Irving
Cat | Kathryn Jones
Various animals on wheels | Eddie’s Wheels

DIRECTOR'S BIO
Demelza Kooij is a Dutch filmmaker who moved to the UK in 2009. In addition to being an independent artist/filmmaker she works as senior lecturer in fiction and documentary filmmaking at Liverpool John Moores University.

Kooij's work is presented at film festivals, art galleries, and conferences. After finishing an MA in Philosophy (University of Amsterdam) she pursued my love for film and completed an MA in Documentary Filmmaking (Royal Holloway University of London).


The Best Life

Meqdad Alkout | 6 min | Kuwait | 2016

SYNOPSIS

A man is hooked on following a social media celebrity on his mobile, as he goes about his mundane life.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Short Program: Hybrid Creatures
2:00 PM | Saturday, March 10, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Cast and Crew List | فيلم أحلى حياة

Director & writer, producer | Meqdad Alkout مقداد الكوت
Director of photography | Tarek Jammal طارق جمال
Sound | Tolaytila Studio أستوديو طليطله

Actors
Ahmad Budham أحمد بودهام
Mousaed Khaled مساعد خالد
Yousef Al Hammadi يوسف الحمادي

DIRECTOR'S BIO
Meqdad Alkout has directed nine short films, written and directed episodes for the online YouTube channel Sheno ya3ni, and created a mini youtube series titled “World of Swalef”. He completed a masterclass with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami in Dubai in 2011.


Jane

Brett Morgen | 90 min | USA | 2017

SYNOPSIS

At age 26, Jane Goodall set out to study chimpanzees in the wild and up close for the first time. Her research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionized our understanding of the natural world.

Film courtesy of National Geographic.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Opening Night Feature: Jane
7:30 PM | Thursday, March 8, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Writer, Director | Brett Morgen
Producer | Brett Morgen, Bryan Burk, Tony Gerber, James Smith
Director of Photography | Ellen Kuras
Editing |Joe Beshenkovsky


Unrest

Jennifer Brea | 95 min | USA | 2017

SYNOPSIS
Harvard Ph.D. student Jennifer Brea is about to marry the love of her life when she’s struck down by a fever that leaves her bedridden. When doctors tell her “it’s all in her head,” she turns her camera on herself and her community as she looks for answers and fights for a cure for the condition commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Feature: Unrest
7:30 PM | Saturday, March 10, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Writer, Director | Jennifer Brea, Kim Roberts
Producer | Jennifer Brea, Lindsey Dryden, Patricia E. Gillespie, Alysa Nahmias, Deborah Hoffmann Director of Photography | Sam Heesen, Christian Laursen
Editing | Kim Roberts, Emiliano Battista


Marjorie Prime

Michael Almereyda | 98 min | USA | 2017

SYNOPSIS
In the near future, a time of artificial intelligence: 86-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith) – a jumble of disparate, fading memories - has a handsome new companion (Jon Hamm) who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. Like the best science fiction, Marjorie Prime uses technology as a mirror back on ourselves.

SCREENING SCHEDULE
Closing Feature: Marjorie Prime
7:30 PM | Saturday, March 10, 2018
Black Box
NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Writer, Director | Michael Almereyda
Producer | Uri Singer
Director of Photography | Sean Price Williams
Editing | Kathryn J. Schubert