Gilbert Karam's 'AlNajma' Selected at CA’ FOSCARI Short Film Festival
Posted on 2020 Sep,23

The Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival is ready to celebrate its tenth edition, which is set to take place from 7th to 10th October in compliance with the health regulations in force. For this reason, alongside the historical location of Auditorium Santa Margherita, the Festival will join forces with other prestigious cultural institutions in Venice, where it will be possible to watch the Festival either via streaming or live.

This anniversary edition is richer than ever before with a number of special guests, who are the protagonists of the various special programs, and a high-level selection among the thirty short films competing in the International Competition dedicated to students of film schools and universities around the world.

The Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival is the first ever event of its kind in Europe to be entirely conceived, organized and managed by a university. It stays true to its mission to be an event created by young people for young people, who are the real protagonists of this festival from both sides of the screen.

At the very core of the event is the International Competition, a selection of the best thirty short films directed in 2019 by either students or recent graduates of some of the most prestigious schools of cinema and universities around the world. The International Competition includes a First Prize for the best short film, the “Volumina” Special Mention for the best art film and the 'Pateh Sabally' Prize, assigned by the Municipality of Venice and dedicated to the themes of multi-ethnicity.

There are 27 competing countries this year, including pieces of work from African, Asian, American and European countries. These are very heterogeneous pieces that mix different techniques, styles and genres in a fresh way, ranging from fiction to documentary, and from animation to video-art. Of course, Lebanon has its own place in this competition.

Representing Lebanon at the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival this year is Gilbert Karam with his short film “ALNAJMA”, which is taking part in the International Competition.

Gilbert Karam is a 27-year-old Lebanese director, student of a specialised course at the Université Libanaise and general manager of the “Le Studio Production house” in Beirut. His first winning short film was Un Jour ou L’autre in 2012. Not only that, but his second experimental short film, Click, shot in 2018, has been selected in many international festivals.

ALNAJMA is a 2019 short film, which tells the story of the famous actress Aida, who retires to her dressing room to savour the success of her last performance in one of the most renowned Lebanese theatres in Beirut. Her popularity is priceless, as proven by the journalists and photographers crowded behind her door to capture the moments immediately following her last show. However, the reality awaiting her is far more distant than what she expected. Aida turns out to be a fragile, lonely woman. Initially praised, acclaimed and appreciated for her talent, Aida is now forced to face indifference, to experience everyday life in its banality, just like any other person. The artist leaves the stage and sees the spotlight turn off on her.

Alongside the International Competition there will also be special programs, events, exhibitions and masterclasses with international guests. The “master of the thrill” Dario Argento is one of the big names of this edition of the Festival. Argento is the author of masterpieces such as Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) and Suspiria, whose innovative and iconoclastic approach to thriller and horror has influenced directors from all over the world. On the occasion, he will be awarded the prestigious Ca’ Foscari Honorary Fellowship Prize by the Venetian university, and he will also be giving an unmissable lectio magistralis on the stage of the Auditorium.

Equally interesting will be the meeting with the creator of the poster of this year’s Festival, Lorenzo Mattotti, who is one of the most popular Italian cartoonists and illustrators. He recently made his debut behind the camera, and in Cannes he presented his first animated film The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia), taken from Dino Buzzati’s childrens’ book. Mattotti will be at the pre-opening of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival, during which he will introduce the screening of his animated film.