This year's Gulf Film Festival will see the return of the International Shorts Competition which was launched at last year's festival and was my favourite part of the festival. There were some powerful story telling in the short films I saw last year and I'm really looking forward to seeing the films taking part this year.
There are entries spanning from North/South America to Europe. Here's my list of top 5:
A Fábrica / The Facory (Brazil), 15 mins
Director: Alysson Muritiba
An inmate convinces his mother to take a risk smuggling a cell phone for him into the penitentiary.
The Sea is all I Know (USA), 29 mins
Director: Jordan Bayne
An estranged couple come to the aid of their dying daughter. The experience sends them spiralling into a spiritual crisis and brutal heartbreak. In the end, an act of selfless love, renews their lives, transcends their loss of faith and even death itself.
Hatch (Austria), 19 mins
Director: Christopher Kusching
'Hatch' follows two couples as they make heart-wrenching decisions. As illegal immigrants, one couple must acknowledge they cannot raise their newborn. The second couple, older and more stable, desperately want to welcome a child into their lives. Decisions borne of desperation cause their lives to briefly cross.
Eisblumen / Ice Flowers (Germany), 30 mins
Director: Susan Gordanshekan
Amir, a young Bosnian, does not have a residence permit. He fights his secret burden. When out of work, he ends up as a care-giver to Mrs Osterloh, who has dementia. An encounter between two people on the fringe who hold on to each other for a moment and lose one another soon after.
Grenouille D'Hiver / Winter Frog (France), 18 mins
Director: Slony Sow
Benjamin’s wife dies in his arms following a long illness. As he contemplates death, a young Japanese woman, gently guides him through his mourning – through a series of symbols and exchanges between two cultures.