A series of short films by Emirati filmmakers

The films for the night feature the work of four Emirati directors:

“Hamam Zakiya” directed by Eman Al Sayed – 7 min

Sara, a carefree young wife with no kids, spends her day in a Moroccan bath to find momentary peace only to be confronted by her worst fears when she meets the intrusive masseuse, Zakiya.

“A Small Dream” directed by Sarra’a Al Shehhi – 15 min

Maitha has a small and seemingly simple dream of swimming in the sea. She encounters various obstacles and struggles to find balance between fulfilling her dream and her fear of judgment.

“Hayya” directed by Shereen Abu Ouf – 19 min

This documentary drama explores the link between mental and physical health. It documents Ruaa’s struggle with cancer and its consequential mental health difficulties, alluding to the importance of mental well-being and reflecting on themes of hope, life, and rebirth.

“The Monster” directed by Abdulrahman Al Madani – 25 min

A battered wife seeks refuge in her estranged mother to escape her abusive husband. However, she finds herself pressured to return to him. Will she give in or fight back this time?


Eman Alsayed

Eman Alsayed is an Emirati filmmaker based in Abu Dhabi. Her short film “The Choice” has been screened in various international festivals. Her script “Blanket” won Best Short Script in Dubai International Film Festival. She works as a full-time TV director at Abu Dhabi Media. In 2021, Eman launched a short film series that deals with social issues, and her films are currently circling the festival circle. In 2022, Eman Alsayed was selected as a board member for women in film GCC.

Sarra’a Alshehhi

Sarra’a Alshehhi is an Emirati filmmaker and a multidisciplinary artist based in the UAE. She loves storytelling and documenting the human experience. She grew up performing and directing plays in school which started her love for writing and directing. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in visual communications from (Zayed University- class of 2013). Where she studied photography and videography. She currently has a master’s degree in film writing and directing from (NYU/Tisch School of the Arts- Class of 2019). Her current themes revolve around women, gender issues, and sensuality. Her recent film (“A Small Dream” – 2022) won best directing and writing (Saudi Film Festival, Khaleej Film Festival, Al Ain Film Festival) and has premiered in three continents so far. Sarra’a enjoys being part of many film startups like MISHKA writing group and FABEMILL. She believes in the power of going local for authentic storytelling.

Sheren Abououf

Sheren Abououf is an Egyptian filmmaker who grew up between Egypt and the UAE. She was exposed to a multicultural environment that reflects her vision and work, and obtained a BFA in filmmaking from New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. At a younger age, she trained at Sky News T.V. and ART T.V. She wrote and directed several films and music videos. One is a short documentary film, “Ice Flower,” which won Best Short Documentary at the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival in 2014 and the Jury Award at the Sharjah Children Film Festival in 2015. Her second documentary, “ Hayya” was the winner of a fund grant at Al Qasimi Foundation 2021 and screened at the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival 2022. She also produces both documentary and narrative short films, including two successful crowdfunding campaigns. She participated in international films such as Netflix’s “6 Underground” and Bollywood’s “TigerZinda Hai,” which added so much to her experience when independently producing her films—exploring different mediums to convey a unique story.

Abdulrahman Al Madani

Abdulrahman Al Madani is an Emirati filmmaker born in Dubai. He began making films in 2012 with the student documentary, “The Gamboo3a Revolution” (2012), which won several awards. He then shifted to narrative filmmaking with the silent film “Guilt” (2013) and the anti-bullying drama “Nagafa’‘ (2014). He received a filmmaking diploma from New York Film Academy in 2015. His thesis film, “Beshkara” (2015), tackles domestic worker rights. In 2019, he received the Sharjah Art Foundation Production Grant for his short drama “Laymoon” (2019). His latest film, “The Monster” (2021), sheds light on domestic violence.