The Palestinian-British short film The Present, which was nominated last Monday for the best live action short film category at the 93rd Academy Awards, was live streamed last Thursday on American over-the-top content platform Netflix.
The short film, directed by Farah Nabulsi, sheds light on how Palestinians are deprived of the basic right of freedom of movement.
It tells the story of a Palestinian man and his young daughter who set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift, showcasing the struggles they go through between occupation soldiers, segregated roads, and checkpoints.
“The Present is debuting globally on Netflix (except France and Japan), and will be available in Arabic with English subtitles,” according to the leading streaming platform, which has over 200 million users from 190 countries.
The company’s statement added, “Netflix’s latest addition to the short Arab films list comes as a part of its commitment to presenting Arab stories to the world, and its belief that great stories can come from anywhere.”
Nabulsi has been in the filmmaking business since 2015, and is currently working on her first feature-length film. She founded a production company through which she writes, produces, and directs fiction films.
These seek to explore topics of importance to her, and the director has over her career created a digital resource to deconstruct the Israeli military occupation of Palestine in a way never done before.
“Arts play a crucial role in changing the world and I believe film precedes them all,” Nabulsi, also a human rights advocate, notes of her directorial debut, “It gives voice to the silenced, thereby helping build the empathy and understanding needed to effect change.”
Produced by Philistine Films with Nabulsi and Ossama Bawardi, The Present stars renowned actor Saleh Bakri.
In addition to the Oscar nomination, the short film has also been shortlisted as a nominee for Best British Short at the BAFTAs, as well as several other awards and nominations in dozens of international festivals.
Nabulsi’s The Present has garnered many awards, including: the Audience Award at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival; the Brooklyn International Film Festival; and the Arab Film Festival (AFF); the Festival Prize at Aesthetica Short Film Festival; and the Best Actor and Gold Medal at the Manhattan Short Film Festival, among 20 other recognitions.
Arab filmmakers are making an inspiring impact globally in recent years. Another Arab Oscar nomination revealed on Monday was The Man Who Sold His Skin. The film, written and directed by Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania, is competing for the best international feature film category.