CAIRO: Filmmaker Omar El Zohairy won Best Student Short Film over 15 minutes with “The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375” at the 20th annual Palm Springs International ShortFest film festival in California Sunday.
He is the first Egyptian to win or be nominated in this category of the festival.
“Aftermath” is Zohairy’s second short film, as well as his graduation project from Egypt’s High Cinema Institute where he specialized in directing.
The film is about “a contemporary world subjugated by materialism, a government clerk who is not allowed to do anything except work, and his relationship with a big corporation,” Zohairy told The Cairo Post, adding that it was a representation of the concept of fear, that he is “personally is obsessed with.”
“What a certain character is afraid of, what his fears are based on; those are all core ideas for me at that point of my life.” Zohairy said.
“Aftermath” was inspired the short story “Death of a Government Clerk” by Anton Chekhov, that tells the story of a man who dies when he is overcome by his fears.
Born in Cairo in 1988, Omar el Zohairy studied film directing at the High Institute of Cinema in Cairo.
During his studies he worked as an assistant for Yosry Nasrallah and Ahmed Abdallah among many other prominent film directors in Egypt.
330 short films screened in this year’s ShortFest, following more than 3,000 filmmaker submissions. More than $115,000 in prizes, including $21,000 in cash awards, were awarded in 21 categories.
This is the second record for Zohairy and his “Aftermath,” as it was also the first Egyptian student film to compete in the 2014 Cinéfondation competition at the Cannes International Film Festival, last month.