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Filming the future

October 21 - 27, 2020
Gulf Weekly Filming the future

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

A Bahraini documentary, which tells the story of the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Programme (CPISP), is winning international accolades at film festivals around the world.

The film, A Vision of Promise - Salman bin Hamad was directed by Bahraini-Syrian director Eva Daoud and produced by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the International Scholarship Programme started by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

“This is a film celebrating the 20-year journey of the CPISP, which also coincided with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of formal education in the kingdom,” Eva told GulfWeekly.

“Our island is small in terms of geographical size, but large in heart, spirit and accomplishments, built, fuelled and driven by its people and their achievements. 

“As a citizen, I have always been proud of CPISP, and as a film-maker, I had to jump at the opportunity to portray this innovative programme and showcase my home as I know and see it.

The 28-minute documentary won the Best Educational Film and was recognised for outstanding achievement in the Documentary and the Director categories at the World Film Carnival in Singapore.

It nabbed the Silver Remi award at the Houston International Film and Video Festival as well as the excellence awards in Documentary Film, Viewer Impact, Original Score and Best Editing at the WRPN Women’s International Film Festival.

It also brought home the Best Short Documentary title at the Global Nonviolent Film Festival. It was one of the finalists for the Short Film Documentary award at the Dallas Film Festival and a semi-finalist for the Best Short Documentary Film at the ARFF in Amsterdam. It has been showcased at over a dozen additional international film festivals in the US, Lebanon, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, India, Russia and Japan.

Eva added: “Our nation deserves a global spotlight, and there is no better way to highlight it than with a well-crafted presentation of this unique programme.

“BACA handed me complete freedom in storyline, timeframe, duration, direction, message and content. They eased formal processes and provided full access to archives and locations.

“The film falls under the genre of a documentary drama, made in Arabic and English.

“It starts with a visual journey into the past aided by the kingdom’s Photographic Education Archive dating back almost a century and focuses on pictures of Bahraini students, teachers, schools and leaders who were the first pillars for the advancement of knowledge.

“We then jump ahead in time to reach the near past when His Majesty King Hamad assumed the mantle of leadership for the kingdom and continued its unstoppable drive for knowledge.

“With the Muharraq Bridge and our sea symbolising the past, and the modern skyline of Manama representing the present, we arrive at today’s youthful generation, full of promise for the future.

“We turn to the Crown Prince and his vision of education which came about from a very young age. 

“We listen to the selected students who present their individual stories of transformation and testimonies of integrity and transparency of choice from the first day of their entry into the competitive phase of the programme until they were deservedly selected.

“They show that there is no ‘impossible’ if the will to excel is fulfilled and unconditionally supported. And, this is exactly what the scholarship programme has provided over the past 20 years.

“To conclude the narrative of the film, I chose to present two interviews with the families of graduate students in their homes. Their testimony and expression of feeling is almost impossible to put in words. It genuinely conveys one of the most beautiful and truest possible embodiments of gratitude.”

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