The idea is to produce a one-minute short film about happiness reflecting people’s different convictions, beliefs and perspectives on happiness and how to achieve it. The content of the film should be positive, inspirational and meaningful. The idea may tackle a specific positive value or an inspirational personal or social experience, or highlight a positive and inspirational character in a creative and meaningful context. Participation is open to all UAE residents except film production companies.
- Promoting the positive and meaningful values and encouraging the creation of a meaningful media content locally and regionally.
- Building an innovative platform for talents in the UAE film industry.
- Encouraging a sense of competition between talents.
- Supporting and sponsoring meaningful Arabic cinema.
- Creatively promoting happiness and positivity.
What Makes the Competition Special?
- The competition is the first of its kind in focusing on happiness and positivity.
- Participants have the liberty to choose the film topic and mode.
- All filmmakers in the UAE are invited to participate in the competition.
- Top ten winning films will be screened at the UAE cinemas.
Participants may choose the proper mode to express their selected idea by opting for one of the following categories:
- Drama film
- Documentary film
- Awareness-raising film
- Theatrical sketch
- Any other category the participant may choose.
I’m Kristina from Russia. I’m 26 years old. I graduated from New York University with a Film and Media degree and passion for visual storytelling. I worked on major Hollywood productions such as The Amazing Spider-man 2, and Netflix’s second feature film War Machine, starring Brad Pitt. I’m currently involved as a Creative Producer in the development of an original animated TV series for children entitled Ali and The Secret Gate. As a full time job I handle visual content for the cosmetics brand Huda Beauty.
The concept of happiness has always been a complicated phenomenon. The notion of happiness is so diverse from person to person, from culture to culture, from east to west. The intention behind the film was to explore what happiness means to the people around us, from your Indian neighbor to your Irish work colleague. There wouldn’t be a more perfect place to explore this theme than Dubai that is so diverse in people from all nationalities, backgrounds and cultures.
I’m Mashael; a 38 years old Palestinian and a mother of 4 kids. I’m holding a Master’s degree from Nottingham University UK and will start my PHD program soon. I lived all my life in the UAE and I feel proud to be part of this great country and such great people. I’m currently working as a Marketing Specialist at the University of Sharjah.
I was inspired by the initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed early 2018 when H.H. ordered sending a symbolic souvenir to all babies born in 2018. The symbolic souvenir includes a message about the noble values promoted by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE. I wanted to highlight that only great leaders do such things and that’s where happiness comes from; when you have great leaders who promise and fulfill their promises.
I’m Kamil; a 38 years old filmmaker from Philippines. I moved to Dubai in 2007 and in the same year I won Best Director for a short film in the inaugural Middle East International Film Festival held in Abu Dhabi. I was awarded a scholarship grant to the New York Film Academy. After graduating from film school, I began my career directing short films, documentaries, TV work and commercial campaigns. My work on short films and documentaries have received numerous awards.
Capturing authentic moments has always been of interest to me, so coming up with an idea for the Happiness Films Award came very naturally. The premise is simple: invite people to answer the question 'What does happiness mean to you?' It is both a question and an invitation for the diverse cast of characters to reflect on their own happiness. Standing in front of the camera is never easy, but it was good to see the diverse cast of characters offer personal insights to what happiness means to them.
I’m Arkus; a 32 years old UAE-based film maker and an alumnus of New York Film Academy, Abu Dhabi pursuing all forms of film making; narrative, documentary, animation and experimental. My last short documentary 'Hartom' won the Best Producer at the Arab Film Studio Awards. The film has been screened at 15 international film festivals and was awarded the 'Happiness, Positivity and Tolerance Award' at the Zayed University Middle-East Film Festival, 2017 which was presented by Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi.
Most people mistakenly define and measure happiness based on their material success. However, we come across people who maintain a great standard of living but are unhappy within. It is therefore essential that we positively re-define success as a product of happiness. In our film ‘Homecoming’ we have presented our unwavering belief that success should be measured by happiness and not the other way around.
I’m Mahra; a 22 years old Emirati, studying at the UAE University and working at the university’s Outreach Department. As a member of the university photography club, photography is a major part of my life. I currently take part in photographing various projects and events. I also directed several short films. I’m passionate about humanitarian and volunteer work and I’m a member of the Takatof Social Volunteering team.
Simple people are no different from us, but they look at life from a different perspective. They see simplicity everywhere and deal with life as is. They are not intimidated by life’s twists and turns. They are always optimistic with a smile on their face, which makes you believe that life can be simple. Some people mistakenly link happiness to money and envy others for what they have, even though the simplest things in life can make them happy.
I’m Maha; a 20 years old Emirati Visual Artist holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication, Digital Media from the American University in Dubai. I create mixed media content layered with depth and meaning, inspired by both nostalgia and Middle Eastern culture.
Happiness is a shared state of mind we all seek, yet we all have different definitions of happiness. This film explores these different definitions only to find that they are all essentially the same. If that is true, then where does true happiness lie?
I’m Asma; a 26 years old Emirati. I work at Sharjah Municipality in the Central Laboratory Department. In 2016, I was nominated by the Sharjah Municipality as Ambassador of Happiness in my workplace, following the directives of the wise leadership to promote happiness and positivity in the UAE. We were happy to spread the culture of happiness by doing several happiness activities, workshops and honors for both employees and customers.
I’m Maha; a 35 years old Emirati. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, International Trade and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, E-Governance. I’m the Head of Conformity Assessment and Health Education, Public Health and Central Laboratories sector in the Sharjah Municipality. I participated in several awareness campaigns in the UAE, GCC and globally.
Veterinary medicine is a great profession. The veterinarian feels the pain of the animal and strives to alleviate it. The reason for choosing the idea of the film is to encourage the new generation and students to practice the profession of Veterinary Medicine, especially with the current lack of awareness about this great profession. The importance of these disciplines and the need for them in the labor market must be highlighted.
I’m Steeven from India. I’m 18 years old filmmaker who has worked on many short films, documentaries and commercials. I started making films when I was 13 and have developed a deep passion towards the art ever since.
There’s no doubt that modern technology has improved communication between people. However, there is a serious lack of contact with our family and friends. We isolate ourselves online and avoid real world interaction and experiences. The new generation is missing out on a lot of happy moments in life.
I’m Houida; a 23 years old creative writer and social media specialist from Syria and based in Dubai. I was introduced to writing at the tender age of 19 when I joined a journalism training program at Al-Hayat newspaper and then obtained a full-time job as a journalist and web editor at the same media outlet. My career has now shifted to creative writing which focuses on social media, being the new leading media platform.
I, like possibly the 7.6 billion people on the planet, have experienced failure more than once throughout my life. Regardless of how bitter each time was, the pleasure in succeeding afterwards was genuine and with great impact on the journey altogether. I came to realize not so long ago how success taken for granted is incomparable to what each failing attempt towards ultimate success feels like. And that’s where the film’s tagline ‘Happiness is Just Another Attempt At Living’ was derived from.
I’m Hind; a 34 years old Emirati and a Zayed University alumnus holding a BA in Art and Design. I am currently pursuing my academic journey at the New York Film Academy, and I recently obtained a diploma in filmmaking. I have since moved on to film writing, editing and producing videos covering top stories, as well as photographing various local exhibitions, museums and commercial businesses. I am currently a Manager of Creative Services at Expo 2020.
I primarily chose the theme of this film because of my family, that has long been a source of inspiration to me, always encouraging and supporting me to publicly share ideas that would bring benefit to people’s lives. I was also inspired by our beloved country, where happiness and positivity are a lifestyle. Therefore, I came up with a film that celebrates our country’s values of love, giving, art, happiness and positivity.
I’m Ali, a 44 years old lebanese; I was born and raised in Ivory Coast, West Africa and I studied film in Lebanon. I’m a director but my day-to-day job consists mostly of editing other people’s films. I had the chance to edit Ali Mostafa’s “From A To B” for which I won best editing. I was a member of the Creative Team in Dubai TV from 2004 to 2006, then I headed the Creative Team in AlRai TV in Kuwait. I’m working with TWOFOUR54 since 2009 till now.
I had this idea while watching the news. I saw the war on Syria and I saw innocent people dying. I saw Palestinians dying since I was old enough to watch the news. I saw Emirati soldiers loosing their lives to protect their country. I wished we could all live in peace, with no weapons, with no bullets. I wish absolute peace for all mankind.
I’m Adam; 30 years old from United Kingdom. My love for script writing and film making has lead me to work on numerous projects including working on "Book of the dead" as a camera operator which won best cinematography and lead to a distribution sales available on Amazon. I was fortunate enough to work with Brad Pitt on his zombie horror World War Z.
I wanted something entertaining to film. In the end it would be something fun to watch on repeat. The pirate theme has been a perfect theme for kids and adults and so it was a perfect fit for the competition. I feel sharing is still a tool we teach today and I wanted to address this in some way. Everyone thinks of sharing food, money or time. Sometimes sharing the moment is more valuable than you expect.
I’m Thamar from India. I’m 28 years old filmmaker. I have a degree in Mass Communication and I have been working in the UAE for the last 7 years as Marketing Executive. I have directed documentaries and short films which won awards from film festivals like DIFF, CDA HH Mansoor film festival & Abu Dhabi Indian association festival.
I wanted to convey the message that happiness is a feeling coming from inside and that it can be attained through the way we are taking up things. We portrayed the shadow in this film as the element of happiness which is always with us. The level of happiness depends on our perception of the situation. Our positive outlook obviously brings happiness even in adverse circumstances.
I’m Amal; a 22 years old Multimedia Design graduate from Zayed University, with experience in film making, news presenting, interviewing, writing scripts, photography and editing. I worked with Zajel ZU; a student media outlet at Zayed University as the first news presenter to present Zayed University news and different topics in the UAE and the world. I produced two short films for my senior project that reflect tolerance and harmony in the UAE. I’m also a part of the voice over team for the Mohammad Bin Rashid Translation Challenge, and I aspire to be a presenter in the near future.
I’m Amani; a 23 years old Emirati filmmaker. My first two short films were published in 2017 for my senior project at Zayed University. The positive and touching reactions I received from the viewers is what drives me to gain in-depth knowledge in this field and also drives me to work on and direct more films.
I’m Mariam; a 23 years old Emirati filmmaker who aspires to understand filmmaking rules. I have Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Design from Zayed University. I have worked on several small projects during my studies at the university and also participated in numerous film competitions. I take filmmaking as an opportunity to explore horizon stories of humankind in the Arab region to present them to the world in my own style.
The reason we chose this idea is our desire to spread personal happiness, which can be expressed in many ways, and to share it with people around us and with our loved ones. We believe that happy moments, big or small, should be shared with others.
I’m Salha from the UAE. I’m 36 years old and I have a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from the UAE University and two Master’s degrees in Quality Management and Business Administration. I took part in numerous awareness-raising activities, notably an advertisement campaign on volunteering in the Special Olympics 2018, and another ad about diabetes, as part of the Abu Dhabi Health competition. I am particularly keen to participate every year in the Health and Diabetes Marathons and the Breast Cancer campaign.
Most people tend to believe that people of determination are unhappy. Those who are born deaf or blind have never heard music or birds singing or have never experienced any of the visual arts that make us happy. Still, I believe happiness is always possible and it can be found in unexpected places. You may find it in a smile, which can spark your enthusiasm and boost your spirits. That’s why I chose to tackle this idea in a short awareness-raising film featuring a person of determination. Although this person is blind and cannot see happiness with his own eyes, he can still feel it through others.
I’m Mohammad, an 18 years old aspiring filmmaker from Bangladesh. I’ve always been extremely fond of films and books from a very early age. The fact that I could watch a story unfold in front of me through the medium of motion pictures has fascinated me all my life. Being a young and aspiring filmmaker, I do not have access to industry professionals or professional filming equipment, but instead I choose to concentrate on what I believe is the most important aspect for a film, which is an engaging story that enthralls the audience.
I’ve chosen this theme because I believe happiness is a very subjective emotion, thus cannot be generalized. Every human being is different in some way; their actions, emotions and feelings are different too. Therefore, an action that makes one individual happy might seem like an act of insanity to the other. By using this theme, I intended to portray that what makes you happy might not necessarily be the same for another person, but you should pursue it anyways. And the only way to attain it would be by doing whatever makes you happy, no matter how crazy or insane it might seem to others.
I’m Danielle form Australia. I’m 30 years old and I hold a Master’s degree in Acting from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London and a degree in Music Theatre from the National Institute Dramatic Art, Sydney. I have fifteen years experience as an actor and have worked and trained in London, New York, Sydney, Beirut and LA. I wrote, produced and directed independent films in London before widening my scope to commercial directing and documentary-making.
Our daily lives are filled with advertisements encouraging us to try ‘this product’ or ‘that experience’ for us to be happier. Sometimes it is important to remember that happiness doesn’t have to be something you strive for. Happiness can be something you already live, through the little moments, in the little things, each and every day of your life.
I’m Umair; a 39 years old Executive Producer/Director from Pakistan. I have been working in the media industry for the last 18 years. In 2004, I joined Geo TV Network to establish Pakistan's first youth channel called AAG. In 2009, I moved to Dubai to work for one of the biggest production companies, Dejavu & The Gold Mine Films then started my own company, D Films in 2011. Today I’m a specialist content creator for local and international clients & brands for digital media and also a producer of content for the Middle East based OSN. I have produced a number of short films for film festivals that have screened around the world.
I’m Neeraj from India. I’m 44 years old. I have a postgraduate degree in Marketing. I’m extremely passionate about film making with a great love for telling stories, meaningful cinema and all its aesthetics.
We live in a city which is global in every way, with people from all over the world living here in peace and harmony. We, however, come from different and diverse backgrounds and sometimes we make the mistake of being prejudiced and pre-judgmental of others. This is one of the most basic human tendencies. We can rise above that and through our short film, we hope to spread this message.
I’m Oluwaseyi; a 26 years old from Nigeria. I’m a Polymath Designer, Photographer and aspiring Filmmaker. I moved to UAE in 2012 and graduated from the University of Bolton with BSc in Computer Science. I recently directed a film documentary, 7 Emirates in 24 Hours which was premiered at the Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival, UAE and screened at the Bozeman Film Festival, Montana, USA.
“The only way back is up again” is a one-minute inspirational movie aimed towards motivating people in the region especially females to participate in sports activities either for leisure or competitive purposes. The movie also showcases some of the iconic landmarks in Dubai.
I’m Maitha; a 22 years old Emirati and a Sharjah University graduate with a BA in Electronic Media. I’m passionate about meaningful film making. I ranked first in Abde3 Prize for best visual report. I also directed several films including “A Story of Gold” on the occasion of Year of Zayed and “Al Sahnah” to acquaint the new generation with the Emirati heritage. I love photography, editing, and design. I look forward to pursuing a master’s degree in filmmaking.
Most of us give away our old stuff to people in need. Through this short film, I wanted to change the people’s perception towards their old belongings by showing how we can transform these things to beautiful pieces, bringing happiness to those who will receive them. Imagine the joy of a child who gets a unique nice pair of shoes. Bringing happiness to others makes us happy too.
I’m Shahil from India. I’m 28 years old holding a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. I’m a filmmaker working in the industry since 2012. I have produced, edited, and directed short films that have been official selections at over 8 international film festivals.
I wanted to make a film about happiness that was authentic in every sense of the word. So my team and I asked everyone we know to send us videos of anything that they’ve shot which makes them truly happy. Our idea is that true happiness is immeasurable and relative from person to person, and for us to showcase it in an authentic manner, it needs to be told from that person’ viewpoint. Hence, we aimed to create a narrative using their happiness instead to reenacting and creating a scenario.
I’m Tharun Abraham from India. I’m 28 years old and I hold a Master’s degree in Digital Effects from UK. I’m a passionate filmmaker with a voice. I believe that films have the power to influence the world. With the help of visual effects and my cinematic abilities, I hope to create films that appeal to a greater audience.
We often forget that happiness is hidden behind the banality of our daily lives. The moment we realize that everything we experience is a miracle, we see magic unfold before our eyes. We wanted to reflect this thought in our film to remind ourselves and others that happiness can be found in things we take for granted, and that if you see things from a different perspective, you will be wonderstruck.
The top three winners will receive:
A chance to screen their films among the advertisements at VOX cinemas
An all-expense paid trip to the Cannes Film Festival
First Winner :
Second Winner :
Third Winner :
Award shields and Certificates of Appreciation
The top ten winners will get:
A chance to screen their films among the advertisements at VOX cinemas
Certificates of Appreciation
All qualified participants to the finale will get:
A chance to screen their films at the closing ceremony
A cash prize of AED 5000