Palestinian short film The Present wins prestigious BAFTA award

Director Farah Nablusi dedicates the award to ‘the people of Palestine’ in virtual acceptance speech.

Farah Nabulsi receives her British Short Film BAFTA award for The Present virtually, during the 74th British Academy Film Awards at Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, on April 10, 2021 [BAFTA/Handout/Reuters]

British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi’s short film The Present has won the award for Best Short Film at the 2021 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards.

The two-day London-based event kicked off virtually on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic. The final evening of the awards will take place on Sunday.

The Present, Nabulsi’s directorial debut, is the story of Yousef, played by Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, who along with his daughter travel to buy a wedding anniversary gift for his wife in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“Amazing!” Nabulsi exclaimed in her acceptance speech.

“For anyone who has seen The Present … you would know why I dedicate this award to the people of Palestine for whom freedom and equality is long, long overdue …” she said.

Nabulsi later tweeted: “Absolutely blown away!!! A BAFTA!!!”

The Oscar-nominated film was co-written by Nabulsi and Palestinian-American poet and director Hind Shoufani.

“I am thrilled for all Palestinian artists who I hope will feel excited and encouraged to continue to create their great work,” Shoufani, who also edited the film, told Al Jazeera.

“I know that everything in our Palestinian heritage actually builds upon the extreme effort, talent and drive of the many generations before us.”

The short film is now streaming on Netflix.

‘Well deserved’

Prominent Palestinians reacted with joy on social media, lauding the film for its depiction of daily life in the occupied West Bank, calling the award “well deserved”.

“Mabrouk Farah! Well deserved. We are so proud of you. Palestine celebrates with you,” former Palestinian Liberation Organization member, scholar and activist Hanan Ashrawi posted on Twitter.


Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK and former Head of PLO Mission to the US, Husam Zomlot said the short film “captures the pain of a nation”.

“We have been the victims of both oppression and cover up,” he said on Twitter.

“Tremendous news and so well-deserved,” Lebanese journalist Zahra Hankir said on Twitter.

The film was nominated along four other short features including Eyelash, Lizard, Lucky Break and Miss Curvy.

At the Oscars, set to be held on April 25, The Present will be competing alongside short films, The Letter Room, Two Distant Strangers, White Eye and Feeling Through.

Source: Al Jazeera