Small Screen, Big Film festival now open for submissions


Saudi Gazette report

— The British Council has opened submissions for its first ever Small Screen, Big Film festival, a new short film festival for young and aspiring filmmakers in the region. Budding directors and anyone with a smartphone are encouraged to create a three-minute film using their device and enter for a chance to have their work shown and promoted during the online festival in March 2018. Four winning entrants will be given a chance to receive expert tuition from some of the UK’s most talented industry representatives.

GCC residents and Gulf nationals living in the United Kingdom can submit their work via until Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Entrants must be aged 25 or under, and can send inquiries to To help filmmakers develop their entry, the British Council has partnered with IntoFilm, a British film-based educational charity, to create a step-by-step smartphone film guide, available for download now from the festival website.

A jury of renowned GCC and UK filmmakers will shortlist 20 films to be screened to a global audience during the online festival from March 15-25 2018. Jury members already confirmed to share their expertise include Emirati Director, Abdulla Al Kaabi, best known for his recent critically acclaimed film Only Men Go To The Grave (2017). Academy award and four time BAFTA award winning British filmmaker, Asif Kapadia, whose documentaries Amy (2015) and Senna (2010) won him high praise, and English actress and writer, Alice Lowe, will also be amongst the jury.

Amir Ramzan, Country Director Saudi Arabia, British Council, commented: “Film is unique in its ability to bridge cultures, and we have developed Small Screen, Big Film for young people in the region to tell their stories and share their perspectives. The whole festival is hosted online, which means anyone in the world can tune in.

“Millions of young people in the region own smartphones, and we are encouraging them all to explore the world of filmmaking. The creative industries are continuing to grow, and in line with the British Council’s commitment to helping the next generation reach their full potential, the festival will help identify and nurture talent from the GCC. We cannot wait to see the work of young people emerge, and we welcome everyone to join us online at the festival in March 2018.”

Entries to Small Screen, Big Film must be no longer than three minutes, captured on a tablet or smartphone and a work of fiction. Submissions can be in English or Arabic and can be live action or stop motion animation, and must be suitable for an under-18 audience. There are two submission categories; 18-25 and Under 18s. For further information on how to create your smartphone film and entry guidelines, visit or get in touch at

The Small Screen, Big Film festival is one of eight initiatives under the British Council’s CULTURE & SPORTS program. The British Council works across arts, education and science to help the next generation reach their full potential. CULTURE & SPORTS was designed in consultation with UK and Gulf partners to provide opportunities for young people in the Gulf to explore different forms of culture and sport. The three-year program aims to reach one million people across the Gulf and work with young people to help them drive positive change in their communities.

Get advice on how to create your smartphone film and learn how to #keepitshort by following the conversation in your country @britishcouncilksa, @kwbritish, @britishcounciluae, @britishcouncilbh, or @qabritishcouncil on Instagram and @BritishCouncilOman on Facebook.