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Amr Gamal’s The Burdened Bags 2 Special Mentions At Valencia Film Festival

THE BURDENED — which was the first Yemeni film to play in the official selection of the Berlinale — is based on a true story set in Aden, Yemen.

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A still from 'THE BURDENED'

AMR Gamal’s The Burdened recently added two more accolades to its string of achievements at the Valencia International Film Festival’s Youth Cinema Section — which took place from June 22nd to July 1st — where it earned two special mentions: Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Previously, THE BURDENED won the Amnesty International Film Award — which comes with a cash prize of €5,000 — during the Independent Juries Award Ceremony that was held as part of the activities of the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale).

The Berlinale also announced on the same day that THE BURDENED placed second in the running for the Panorama Section’s Audience Award, which Gamal was honored for in a second ceremony that was held in February.

THE BURDENED — which was the first Yemeni film to play in the official selection of the Berlinale — is based on a true story set in Aden, Yemen. The film follows Ahmed, Isra’a, and their three children after they both lose their jobs as a result of an economic crisis.

After the mother discovers she is carrying a fourth child, the beleaguered parents try to get an abortion despite their community’s conservative stance, forcing the family to make tough decisions to survive.

The film is directed by Amr Gamal, who shares screenwriting credits with Mazen Refaat, and stars Khaled Hamdan, Abeer Mohammed, Samah Alamrani, and Awsam Abdulrahman. It also brings together Yemen, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia in a landmark co-production that was first brought to international attention at the 2022 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where it earned the Works in Progress Post-Production Development Award in the festival’s industry sidebar, Eastern Promises, with the platform’s jury expressing its admiration for “the director’s brave approach in tackling sensitive subjects against all odds.”

MAD Solutions is managing the film’s distribution in the Arab world, while Films Boutique is managing its international sales.

THE BURDENED is co-produced by Mohsen Alkhalifi, Mohammed Alomda, and Amjad Abu Alala (Station Films) — the filmmaker who helmed the award-winning drama YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY, which was submitted to the Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film Category in 2020 as Sudan’s first-ever Oscars’ submission.

Amr Gamal (b.1983, Poland) is an independent Yemeni film and theater director. In 2003, he received the President’s Award for Playwriting, and in 2005, he established the Khaleej Aden Theater Troupe and has written and directed all of its theater productions since.

His play MA’K NAZEL became the first Yemeni play to be performed in Europe after its overwhelming success in Yemen.

In the summer of 2018, his first feature film, 10 DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING, premiered in Aden, becoming the first local film to be released commercially in Yemen in three decades.

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