Farah Nabulsi’s award-winning film The Present tells a striking story of a family stripped of their basic right to freedom of movement
Director Farah Nabulsi’s topical film The Present tells the touching story of a family who has to pass through a segregated and intimidating checkpoint just to buy their weekly groceries. This live-action short film had its world premiere at the coveted Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Best International Film. It then took home the Oscar-qualifying Jury Award for Best Live Action Film at Cleveland International Film Festival, where it had its North American premiere.
On his wedding anniversary, Yusef and his young daughter set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift. Between soldiers, segregated roads and checkpoints, how easy would it be to go shopping?
Farah Nabulsi is a British-Palestinian filmmaker. She is the daughter of Palestinians who was fortunate enough to make a home in 1970’s Britain — unlike the millions who continue to remain stateless in refugee camps. She left the corporate world in 2016 to start working in the film industry as a writer & producer of short fiction films, exploring topics that matter to her. This includes Today They Took My Son, endorsed by renowned British director Ken Loach, screened at the United Nations and officially selected to top tier international film festivals.
In 2019, she directed her first film, The Present, which she also co-wrote. The film was produced by Ossama Bawardi (When I Saw You, Wajib) with the seasoned French cinematographer, Benoit Chamaillard as DOP. It stars Palestinian actor, Saleh Bakri (Salvo, Salt of This Sea, Wajib, The Band’s Visit) who is considered one of the most well-known and talented actors in Arab independent cinema. The film was shot in Bethlehem, Palestine, features real footage of the infamous Checkpoint 300 and has since been acquired by the French TV channel, Canal+.
The Present continues to pick up numerous other awards, including both Audience Pick and Special Jury Award at Palm Springs International ShortFest, Audience Awards at both Short Shorts Film Festival in Japan and Indy Shorts International Film Festival by Heartland Film, Outstanding International Narrative Short Jury Award at DC Shorts International Film Festival and the Jury Award for Best International Short at Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, among others.
The Present will soon screen at Hollyshorts Film Festival and NewFilmmakers LA, and will premiere in the UK in November at both Oscar and Bafta qualifying festivals, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Leeds International Film Festival.