Film Fair Middle East-World of Women 2017 proceeds will support children with special needs

Film Fair Middle East-World of Women 2017 proceeds will support children with special needs

27.02.2017: ....through Al Jalila Foundation’s Ta’alouf programme FILMMAKERS HOPE STORY OF FAMILY’S STRUGGLE

....through Al Jalila Foundation’s Ta’alouf programme


photo caption:    ‘Lemonade’, telling the story of an Emirati family’s struggle to deal with a son’s autism, will be screened at the at the WOW Film Fair Middle East in Dubai from 3-8 March

Emirati director, mother-producer aim to raise awareness with screening at WOW Film Fair Middle East

The makers of a film telling the story of a family’s struggle to deal with a young man’s autism hopes it will inspire others facing the same difficulty and boost awareness of the disorder in the UAE.

The film, ‘Lemonade” is a collaboration between 22-year-old Emirati student Sarah Al-Hashimi, making her debut as a director, and Dedra Stevenson, who came up with the idea to feature her  autistic son Ibrahim after he became too old to attend a special needs school.

It will be screened at the World of Women’s Cinema - WOW Film Fair Middle East taking place in Dubai from 3-8 March, and both Al-Hashimi and Stevenson, the film’s executive producer, are equally passionate in their hope that the film will have a big impact on audiences.

“I decided to tell my son’s story so that other families who are trapped in a situation like mine would have a glimmer of hope, and perhaps also find the strength to take on a more proactive approach with their own children,” said Stevenson.

“I think that ‘Lemonade’ will open doors for more people to create awareness of disorders like autism, as the world is currently highly visual. Autism awareness works better when it’s in film, as does everything, because people may not believe what they read, and they may dismiss what they hear. But they have a hard time not believing their eyes.”

Al-Hashimi, majoring in communication and media sciences at Zayed University, specialising in video and filmmaking, said: “When the story was brought to me by Dedra I immediately thought it was one to tell because it was about a real struggle that people are going through.

“There hasn’t been much awareness about autism in general in the country and I wanted to address that with this movie. I really wanted the story to be told from Dedra’s point of view and in her voice. My inspiration was basically the story itself, because anyone would be inspired by hearing it.”

Championing the role of women in the movie industry when it returns to Dubai cinema screens for a fourth edition, the WOW Film Fair Middle East is supported by the Australian government’s Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR) and Qantas Airlines among others.

With all ticket proceeds being donated to Al Jalila Foundation, the festival is developed by Dubai based business owner and News Anchor Hermoine Macura – in association with VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates.

The program includes films by women and men from across the world. WOW members can access the full program which includes screenings at the A4 cinema at Al Serkal Avenue.

Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation, was established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai at the forefront of medical innovation.

“Al Jalila Foundation, is delighted to be the chosen charity for the World of Women Charity Gala at the WOW Film Festival 2017,” said Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, Chief Executive Officer.

“Proceeds from the event will support children with special needs through the Al Jalila Foundation Ta’alouf programme.” Ta’alouf, which means ‘harmony’ in Arabic, is the flagship community programme that supports caregivers of children with special needs.

The WOW Film Fair Middle East will showcase 31 films chosen from a selection of over 100 that have been created predominantly by female filmmakers, producers and screenwriters from 24 countries across five continents.

Lemonade will be screened on March 6th at A4 Space, Al Serkal Avenue as part of a special needs focus. The 8pm show is available exclusively to those with WOW membership which can be obtained online at AED100 and includes access to all A4 screenings and workshops.

In line with the fair’s mission to empower women in the Arab world, WOW’s organisers have been receiving award nominations for individuals whose exceptional work contributes towards advancing females across eight categories.

These include Humanitarian of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, Personality of the Year, Sports leader of the Year, Rising talent Leader of the Year (Film Maker award), and Male Champion of Change.

photo caption:    The film is a collaboration between Emirati student Sarah Alhashimi, making her debut as a director, and Dedra Stevenson, who came up with the idea to feature her autistic son Ibrahim.

The awards will be presented at the fair’s Charity Gala Dinner taking place at the Park Hyatt Dubai on 7 March on the eve of International Women’s Day.

Movie goers who attend any of the WOW Film Fair screenings will also have the opportunity to win a free Qantas return flight to Australia by simply writing their name on the back of their ticket and placing it into a drop box at each location where screenings are held. The winner will be announced on March 8th on the WOW social media platforms.

The WOW monthly membership also allows individuals to support the fair and access the entire programme, including exclusive workshops, special screenings, seminars and networking events with regional filmmakers.

To find out the latest show information, sign up for a membership and book tickets, visit VOX cinemas, or follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

- Lindsay Johnston, Total Communications Dubai - also photos


27.02.2017 / MaP

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