As another academic year comes to an end, the students of Mohammed Bin Rashid School for Communication at the American University in Dubai are adding the final touches to their capstone projects. It’s been a long journey for the soon-to-be graduates, and the Post aims to take a closer look at their final projects. Split into three categories, the English track of MBRSC will be turning in 3 short films from Digital Production and Storytelling students, and 3 documentaries and 5 written Investigative reports from Journalism students.
Make sure to keep reading to watch a teaser for all the visual capstones!
- Caged –
Directed by: Nadia AlRizaiqi
Crew: Farah ElShafie, Yara Heikal, Asma Al-Marzooqi and Namirah Ahmad
“Caged” is a short film about Salma and Khalid, a newlywed Arab couple. The film addresses the topic of marital rape and society’s perception of it.
“This movie has been in progress since September 2017,” said Farah ElShafie, their cinematographer. “It takes a lot of effort to find the best locations and create the whole feel of the movie,” she continued. Their script went through a lot of changes under the circumstances of production. “It’s always a problem when members delegate their jobs or leave them incomplete,” ElShafie commented on the difficulties faced on set.
Follow their Instagram on: cagedfilm.
- Counterpunch –
Directed by: Hamad Saleh
Crew: Omar AlKady, Karim El Masri and Amira Abdullah
“Counterpunch” is about Amal, an angry boxer who is trying to prove to her dad that she can make it in the boxing world despite tough circumstances. This movie defies specific Arab societal standards and their views on women.
“In terms of writing, the hardest part is not to get too carried away with new ideas,” said Saleh. As for producing, he cites “team effort” as the most important part of creating a successful movie. He recalls pre-production as the most difficult part of reaching the end product “because of the amount of locations and actors that we need.” While on set, Saleh says that “it was difficult to direct a child as he was always distracted and uncooperative.”
Follow their Instagram on: counterpunchfilm.
- Table 2 –
Directed by: Farida Seif
Crew: Diana Hammoud, Sherif Abdelnaby, Jalila Najjar and Yasmine Abou Ghazale
“Table 2” is about Yousef, an Egyptian man who finds himself hiding his new job at a restaurant from his family after losing his old corporate job. The film presents how people are treated differently because of their social classes and highlights the silent discrimination that revolves around workers.
“It takes a lot of effort and hard work,” said their cinematographer Diana Hammoud. She originally pitched the idea of the movie but decided to film it as opposed to directing it. “I think the hardest phase is production where we have to wake up early and shoot every day until the afternoon,” she added. They are shooting the movie with the Sony FS7, a considerably heavy film camera which makes it hard to operate sometimes.
Follow their Instagram on: table2film.
- Invert –
Documentary by: Dana Oraibi
Oraibi’s documentary is about the shift of perception on pole dancing from how it was previously thought to be stripping, but it’s now a booming business that a lot of women are joining.
“I’m doing everything alone, and it’s been very hectic and hard, especially that I’m a journalism major, not production,” Oraibi said. She has to face the responsibilities of finding locations, contacts, filming, editing and a lot more. “The struggle of making it happen alone is the most difficult thing I had to deal with,” she concluded.
- Mudiyende –
Documentary by: Zeinab Dakik
This documentary follows Mudiyende’s return to his homeland near Lake Eyasi after serving in the Tanzanian military where he discovers that his ancient hunter-tribe is making an alarming shift to the norms of modernised society. It’s a story about identity and culture in the face of modernisation.
Dakik worked on all phases of the documentary on her own. To her, the pre-production phase and the development of the thesis is the most crucial part to a successful documentary. “Developing content boxes and producing an authentic story is one of the biggest challenges I faced,” she said. She recommends being conscious of creating a visually compelling piece without manipulating the story for your own preferences.
- Prana –
Documentary by: Dalia Sleiman
“When life brings you down, people have different ways of recovering. Some get depressed, some keep themselves busy, and some find the light,” according to Sleiman. “Prana” is a documentary discovering a new method of recovery – one that involves energy and inner healing. All you need for pranic healing is to believe.
“When you’re passionate about something, you barely feel the effort you’re putting into it,” Sleiman said. Still, she wishes she has a set of helping hands sometimes. It wasn’t her choice, but rather everyone wanted to work on their own idea. Nevertheless, Sleiman said “working on my capstone alone is very comforting because I know what I want.”
- All that Glitters Isn’t Gold –
Written by: Stephanie Dafeta
This report was originally about domestic workers and what they go through in Dubai, but Dafeta found and included more stories that have happened all around the world.
“A lot of planning and research went into this project,” she said. She had to find “strategic ways to go about getting information without getting in trouble”, since this is a controversial subject. “The hardest part for me was getting some of these workers to open up to tell me their stories,” she added. Dafeta chose to go with writing a report over filming a video to tell their stories without putting them at risk. “Their safety is paramount,” she said.
- How Social Media Affects Our Lives –
Written by: Pushkar Sinha
While the title is a work in progress, Sinha has been developing this capstone in his mind for almost two years now. As the current name suggests, this report analyses the psychological effect of social media on self-confessed heavy users.
“It’s incredibly difficult to do it individually,” said Sinha. He had a hard time interviewing professionals as well. He received “vague and rambling answers” whenever he got in touch with them as well. “I couldn’t decide which topic to choose, but I really cared about writing about social media… It resonated with me the most,” he added.
- Recycling in the UAE –
Written by: Sara Skaf, Lara Obeidat and Nourhan Mansour
“Recycling in the UAE” is about recycling initiatives in the UAE and whether they work or if they’re just for public appearance.
It took a full month to simply gather all the necessary information, statistics and interviews to produce this piece and a few more weeks to sit down and edit it. “The interviews were the biggest difficulty that we faced,” Skaf said. “Only two recycling companies were able to give us information” she elaborated.
- Who determines if my culture is barbaric: Tribal Marks in Northern Nigeria –
Written by: Aisha Buhari
This project is about the tradition of tribal marks or scarification in Northern Nigeria. A lot of people criticise the practice because of its health and legal takes. However, many of the critics are non-Nigerians, and so her capstone takes a local angle on the topic for once.
“I am passionate about the topic so I put my very best into research,” Buhari said. She struggled to find people to speak on the record against the practice and had to work months ahead of her peers since it was an international story. “I achieved my main goal to let minority cultures speak out for themselves and their lifestyles in an almost Westernised world,” she concluded.
- Why our grandparents were healthier than us – the rise of food intolerances –
Written by: Farah Gad and Hadi Ayedh
This is an investigative report about the rise of food intolerances and allergies specifically in the UAE. According to Gad, there has been a significant increase globally, as well as in the UAE, and they are in the process of investigating why.
Similarly to other reports, the hardest part was finding relevant quotes. “More often than not, they don’t even reply to our emails,” Gad said. “Everything else was super easy, but only because I’m super passionate about the topic,” Gad explained. She thinks writing her capstone is much easier than filming one.
Click on the picture to watch the teaser!
Photos by Zeinab Dakik and Farah ElBahrawy