Directed by Mohamed Maged
Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Maged’s first short film “Trapped” (2018) has received a widely positive reception. Maged and crew have taken a simple concept and effectively exploited key features of the cinematic art form to create a well executed film, supported by an engaging performance by Shivain Verma.
As an art form, film shares ‘the frame’ with other visual arts and it is routinely used by artists to select and shape the presentation of the subject to the audience. The dominant approach in cinema is to draw the audience into the world of the film, employing techniques to encourage the audience to not notice the limits or ‘artifice’ of that world. This is achieved through employment of various conventions such as direction matching and ‘invisible’ editing. Editing is also typically used to construct a believable geography through the exploitation of “off screen space” and seamlessly joining what are, in actuality, non-contiguous spaces.
“Trapped” may briefly remind the viewer of a familiar, classic comedy scene which shows the audience a static shot of a hallway of doors and characters emerge from non-sensical locations, disrupting the established conventions of off screen space and screen geography for comic effect. Here, however, Maged has extended and refreshed the generic conventions to create a diverting narrative moment.
Directed by Natalie Aji
With her 2018 short "The Yoniverse", New York based filmmaker Natalie Aji again focusses her documentary storytelling talents on creating a candid profile of a woman who shares her experiences and vision.
Through her short film, Aji provides the audience with insights into the influences, process and vision of Swedish photographer Cim Ek as she creates images in a series entitled "Glitter Yonis".
From the context of a long held photographic interest in patterns and elements of nature, combined with personal experience of being a young woman working through her relationship to her body, Ek gently and matter of factly explains her photographic celebration of a woman’s' "uniqueness".
In the same way that Ek speaks of her process as 'creating a space' for the individual woman being photographed, Aji 's documentary style places the subject at the centre of the film. Her subjects speak directly to the camera without interruption of an interviewer. Both the use of camera and editing reveal without recourse to sensationalism or artifice, echoing Ek's approach which involves limited editing of images captured.
In also doing this as a filmmaker, Aji creates a simple and direct intimacy and allows the audience space to encounter the joy of, and purpose behind, one of the aspects of Ek’s professional work which touches on the taboo.