Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, with Swapna Kurup, winner of the Documentary category. Image Credit: Supplied

Media and entertainment company Image Nation Abu Dhabi crowned the winners of the sixth Arab Film Studio, its annual short film programme. Two participants were awarded the coveted Best Film award in the Documentary and Narrative mediums. They were judged by a panel of regional filmmaking elite including Emirati film directors Nahla Al Fahad (The Tainted Veil), Ali Mostafa (The Worthy) and Majid Al Ansari (Zinzana). The night also gave special mention to two students in the Best Producing category, as well as commending an assembly of Young Filmmakers.

Nabil Chowdhary, 33, from United Kingdom scooped the AFS Narrative award for his sci-fi thriller The Replacement, while the documentary title went to Swapna Kurup, 36, from India, for her documentary short Ranapakhara.

“I am so happy to have won this award. It was a lot of hard work, but it was a great experience and I am so glad it has come to a winning end. You learn so much on the programme over the months and I feel confident now that if I want to go into the film industry or work on a feature film, I have the tools and knowledge to do so,” said Chowdhary.

Kurup said of her win: “I am so surprised to have won as all the four films were very strong, but I am so happy. Before the programme I had one idea in my mind of how a documentary should be, but throughout the process I was exposed to so many different types of films which was a big eye-opener for me. It was a great learning experience and I hope that winning will enable me to get more funding for different projects that I want to pursue and that I can keep making more films!”

With his win, Chowdhary will undertake a full-time internship with the Image Nation Narrative department, while Swapna will commence an internship with the Documentary department.

Two additional awards were given at the AFS Awards Ceremony, including Special Mentions in Producing for Zahra Mirza producer of short BACK TALK, and Fahad Shaikh producer of documentary short M1-KO.

Next month, Image Nation in partnership with the Dubai Film Market will be awarding the winner of its AFS Scriptwriting competition at the Dubai International Film Festival.

Image Nation is still accepting submissions for their AFS Narrative programme 2018, closing on December 2. To submit, go to arabfilmstudio.ae.