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RFC – Jordan organizes the 16th Edition of Rawi Screenwriters Lab

Jordan Daily – After a one-year suspension of the Rawi Screenwriters Lab due to the global health situation, the Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFC) resumed the 16th round of the Lab, which wrapped up yesterday.

Nine aspiring Arab screenplay writers (Rawi Fellows) along with their outstanding feature-length screenplays, had made their way to the serene and inspiring atmosphere of the Wadi Feynan, in the southwestern edge of the Dana Biosphere Reserve on November 29th. This year, eight renowned award-winning screenwriters (Creative Advisors), coming from all around the world, have been hosted by the Lab to advise its selected Arab screenwriters and share their expertise with full eagerness.

In order to look into the screenplays and refine the plot in the most convincing way, the RFC arranged for the Fellows and Advisors to work together intensively for five days, from November 29th until December 3rd. A visit to the iconic city of Petra was organized, on the following day, after the Lab’s activities came to an end, the  RFC noted in a statement .

The Rawi team tailored a serene location with a motivating ambiance strictly devoted to screenplay writing at Feynan Ecolodge – built by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) and owned now by the EcoHotels. Since its inception in 2005, Rawi Screenwriters Lab has supported some of the most significant new voices in Middle Eastern cinema.

Mohannad Al Bakri, the RFC’s Managing Director, commented on this year’s Lab and projects saying: “This 16th round of Rawi is a special one in the sense of having the Lab return to Feynan; a very distinguished spot for the Fellows to have the solitude and privacy they need to work with their Advisors on their screenplays. The combination of participants from all over the Arab region and Advisors coming from around the globe is enriching Rawi and giving rise to magnificent stories.”

The Creative Advisors for this year included: Abu Bakr Shawky (Egypt), Ana Urushadze (Georgia), Bernd Lichtenberg (Germany), Georges Hachem (Lebanon), Margaret Glover (United Kingdom), Sharon Doyle (United States), Wayne Powers (United States) and Wessam Soliman (Egypt).

Margaret Glover, Rawi’s Creative Advisor and Consultant, and who is a script editor, writer and producer, shared her impressions about the Lab saying: “At Rawi, there is a strong sense of actively valuing the diversity, equality, equity, and inclusivity within the Arab world. It is probably, in terms of a linguistic cultural group, the most diverse in the world and so the interaction just among fellows who are coming from different parts of the Arab speaking world across the Middle East, and that in it itself is a very important conversation that I truly hope will enrich the film culture and aid the development of a film language that is specific to the region; not colonized or following foreign approaches, declaring its independence as a cinema which can communicate with its own audiences, its own diaspora, and also those of us who are not part of that culture. My sense is that if there’s one thing that distinguishes the RFC is that is their goal.”

Selected projects and fellows for this year’s edition of Rawi are: “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” by Amr Abed (Egypt), “Road 250” by Haya Alghanim (Kuwait), “Shameem” by Karim Rahbani (Lebanon), “Son of the Alien” by Assaf Al Rousan (Jordan), “The 100 Hours Trip” by Hadeel Lawi (Jordan), “To Him We Return” by Ahmad and Rana Alyaseer (Jordan), “The Return of the Jerboas” by Jihane Amira Khelfallah (Algeria) and “The Wind Above the Clouds” by Farah Abou Kharroub (Lebanon).

About her participation in the Lab, Fellow Rana Alyaseer said: “Rawi is a rich experience that I will never forget, from which I gained new expertise, whether from the sessions with the Advisors, or the discussions with the Fellows. The workshop also offered us the opportunity to get acquainted with professional writers whose films we watched in their presence and discussed with them, and that is a very special opportunity. The location of the workshop being at the Feynan Ecolodge had a positive impact on the experience, as the nature of the place gave us privacy and comfort to dwell in the screenplay as well as getting inspired by its ambiance.”

The RFC’s team has already begun planning for the 17th Rawi Screenwriters Lab as the Call for Applications for the upcoming round will be open in January 2022.


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