East Lothian lecturer takes short film to Cannes for premier screening

Short film: Walid Salhab will also have his film screened in New York.
Short film: Walid Salhab will also have his film screened in New York.

An East Lothian lecturer will have his film screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival after winning a short film award.

Walid Salhab, who lectures on Media Practise at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, made his film, Bra-et Al Rouh (Innocence of Spirit), with the help of film graduates from the university.

The production, which recently received a Best Short award at the Best Shorts competition in California, will now be premiered at Cannes’ Artisan Festival International (World Cinema Festival).

Raising awareness of Palestinian refugees, Bra-et Al Rouh uses a common theme of homelessness, highlighting the parallels between the Middle East and the West.

The film’s main star is a six-year-old Palestinian girl, whose act of kindness towards a homeless man in despair signifies hope.

Commenting on his film making process, Mr Salhab said: “It’s a low budget film which I shot during Edinburgh’s International Festival, using the festival acts as a background for the story. My film-making is the basis for my own on-going research. It allows me to explore the use of new technology in filming and editing techniques which I can then feedback into my teaching.”

The film will be screened later in May at the Artisan Festival International strand of Cannes, and in August at the Hamptons International Film Festival in New York, as part of the Cannes and Hamptons World Peace Initiatives, celebrating world artistic expression.

Both the Festival de Cannes and Hamptons International Film Festival will showcase award-winning films, visual art, fashion and music with the sole aim of bridging the gap of cultural diversity by promoting arts and culture.

Mr Salhab added: “I thought the film was a good fit with the Artisan Festival International as the Festival’s theme is world peace. I initially entered it into this festival, not realising that it would be premiered in Cannes, so the result is a very pleasant surprise.

 “It’s amazing that a short film which cost literally nothing to make, seems to be gaining recognition world-wide. It’s a great success story for the university - the crew was mainly made up of Queen Margaret University film graduates.”

The Best Short competition’s chairman, Thomas Baker, commended Bra-et Al Rouh in a letter to Mr Salhab. He said: “You can be justifiably proud of winning Best Shorts honours. The judging standards are high and winning means the craft and creativity exhibited by your entry is outstanding and stands above other productions.”

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