Distributed by Mad Solutions, Athel was produced by Toaster Productions and Anasy Media, directed by Alyazia Bint Nahyan, starring the Egyptian actress Hala Shiha, the veteran Emirati artist Mansour Alfeeli, the British actor Keith Dallison, the young actors Ahmed Al Hosani and Haydar Al Lami, producers Afra Al-Marar and Haifa Al-Haidari, and filmed by Alex Martella.
Based on the long-forgotten story and rumours of the short-lived life of the pre-Islamic Arabian poet, Tarfa Ibn Al-Abd or historically known in the world of literature as “the murdered boy”, Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan steps into the shoes of directing, driven by the wish to gain insights on the untimely death of the poet and finding the truth behind the rumours.
With a new style and subtraction in a light witty drama template, the events of the film revolve around Tarfa the poet and a present-day presenter Salma, preoccupied with filming an episode of her poetry show. Soon enough, she discovers that fate hides something far from reality, changing the course of the story.
Currently touring numerous international film festivals, Athel won various awards and trophies like the Platinum Award for Best Fantasy Short @ the Independent Short Awards in Los Angeles – USA, the Gold Remi Awards @ the WorldFest-Huston International Film Festival in USA, Finalist @ ARFF Amsterdam 2020 International Awards in Netherlands, Finalist & Nominated for the Viewer’s Choice Award @ Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival in Canada, Award Winner @ Calcutta International Cult Film Festival in India, Outstanding Achievement Certificate @ Berlin Flash Film Festival in Germany, as well as being Officially Selected at Corto Creativo Short Film Festival in Mexico, Rome Independent Prisma Awards in Italy, Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival in Canada, Madrid Film Festival in Spain, the 38th season of Cult Critic Movie Awards 2021 in India, VIFF Vienna Independent Film Festival in Austria, Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival in Netherlands and at the Bridges International Film Festival in Loutraki-Corinthia, Greece.
The film seeks to highlight the need to follow the truth behind every rumour, with the conclusion at the end: “Not everything you hear, must be believed, seek for the truth”
His story portrayed by the characters is somehow relevant to our current times, when rumours can simply destroy someone’s life, just like it did to Tarfa. Searching for answers will eventually enlighten us and bring us to the truth of the matter.
History & Background:
Tarafah Ibn Al Abd
A pre-Islamic poet, author of the longest of the seven odes in the much-celebrated collection of pre-Islamic poetry Al Muallaqat (the suspended poems). Despite his young age, he was able to excel over great poets.
Life hasn’t granted him but twenty-six years that were eventful and troublesome. His life was full of pleasures, adventures and revels, but on the other hand, he suffered from poverty and deprivation in his early life.
Moreover, he suffered injustice from his family and closest relatives and friends. He was solitary and an outcast and deep inside he felt extreme desolation, spatially, temporarily, psychologically and socially.
He secluded himself and created an inner world reflected in writing great poems that were so eloquent and well-structured that masters of language and style recognized and hanged them up inside the Kaaba. His poetry was rich in wisdom, pride, flirt and satire.
Tarafah was rebellious, audacious, strong, benevolent, honest, brave and adventurous, one of the Arab stars of poetry in the pre-Islamic era of the first class of poets. Born in the historic territory of Bahrain, one of the most important poets of the famous pendants in the history of ancient Arabic literature.
Emirati actor Mansoor Alfeeli started his career in the theatre in 1978. He later turned to television, radio and cinema, working on various projects, latest one is the hit film Shabab Sheyab.
Hala Shiha is an Egyptian actress best known for portraying the main roles in The Ladder and Snake and Lost in America. The much admired and widely known actress return to cinema was well received by audiences and industry figures alike.