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BLOG: Zoom! Finalists head to Morocco

Zoom! Finalists and their trainers from Broadway Media Centre

February 2014

The finalists from British Council Yemen's ‘Zoom!’ filmmaking competition for young filmmakers, have just returned from Rabat, Morocco, where they've been undertaking a week long filmmaking boot camp under the watchful eye of some expert trainers.

Back in October 2013, we put out a tender for UK Training Organisations to help us deliver a practical filmmaking workshop which would form part of the 2013 Zoom! competition organised by colleagues in Yemen.

Broadway Media Centre won the bid and were challenged to come up with a programme to support five filmmakers, who had taken part in an open national filmmaking competition, with their entries selected by a panel which included Yemeni director Bader Bin Hirsi and photographer Ibi Ibrahim.

In February 2014, the five finalists travelled to Rabat, Morocco with colleagues from British Council in Yemen and spent the next eight days learning new professional skills ranging from camerawork, sound design, visual storytelling and editing. After a crash course, trainers from the Broadway Media Centre watched as each participant then took the helm on a micro short film which they wrote, directed and edited in a single day - an extraordinary challenge for any filmmaker let alone five newcomers.

You can meet the five participants in a sweet picture of the week from the perspective of young filmmaker, Hanan Al-Surmi, who clearly found the experience life-changing:

As ever with collaborative projects like this one, the UK trainers set out with expectations that they'd be delivering the knowledge and the particpants would be receiving it - but came back realising just how much they'd learned themselves. As Broadway's Al Clark observed:

"This was a brilliant opportunity to work with five young filmmakers from a culture which I'd had no previous experience of, nor any real contact with before. Although the training was being delivered by us and consumed by them, the learning was most definitely two way. There were long days spent  together working - and also fun nights out bowling and chatting - and we spent much time swapping stories of our home cultures. As we did, it was really clear how different our backgrounds have been but, at the same time, how similar our ambitions are.  I hope we've been instrumental in a small way in the career progressions of these five fantastic people and of course am looking forward to seeing their professional progress - but I'm also aware how the experience has changed us and our perspective as filmmakers and trainers!".

The participants are now back in Yemen working on their next projects, with a week of professional film training on their side, but also also with a support group and some new friends - and UK audiences will have the chance to meet one of the five later this year when they are selected to attend a major UK film event.

You can see the range of films - each made in a single day here:

And one final film which demonstrates the use an enterprising young filmmaker can make of their UK trainers:


The first  Zoom! Competition was initially launched in 2010 and won by Ziryab Al-Ghabri with The Gift Maker.

This year's participants are determined to be part of a new wave of cinema from Yemen – and they’re in good company as Yemeni filmmaker Sara Ishaq was nominated for an Academy Award just this month for her short documentary, Karama Has No Walls.