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The Vase by AUS filmmaker Tala Touckley to be featured in Cannes Court Métrage
Up and coming filmmaker Tala Touckley credits the support of other women in helping her achieve her latest success—the selection of her short film The Vase for the Cannes Court Métrage (or Short Film Corner) as part of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Held in Cannes, France, Festival de Cannes, is one of the world’s most prestigious international film festivals, serving as a rendezvous point for creatives in film and art.
A recent multimedia graduate from American University of Sharjah’s (AUS) College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), Touckley wrote and directed The Vase as an expression of her experience growing up in a third culture with no defined sense of “home.” Her search for identity is depicted through various objects that allow her to feel closer to the concept of home.
The experimental film’s narration switches between English and Arabic as a reflection of how many people like Touckley have a link to a home that can only be explained by the informality of a language.
“The script was not meant to be perfect formal Arabic—the shift of accent at certain moments was included on purpose. As a blend of various Arab roots, I have a different Arabic accent when speaking to my parents and extended family versus friends, and it gives a different experience because of our combined cultures,” said Touckley.
The film was produced in the summer of 2021, shortly after Touckley completed her studies at AUS.
“Last summer, as I thought about how some people have never experienced something called ‘home,’ I wanted to visually bring this concept to life using film. It was exceptionally challenging since bringing such a metaphorical concept to life is tricky. How could I communicate the feeling of not exactly having a home but also connecting objects to it?” she said.
Touckley set about writing the script and screenplay and connected with a multidisciplinary team of women who she studied with at CAAD. Visual communications graduate Yara Hamedallah assisted Touckley as creative producer, design management graduate Bayan Al Masri lended her voice as the film’s narrator, and architecture graduate Amal Salloum appeared as the on-screen actress.
Once the project was complete, Touckley shared it with her colleague and mentor Deena Stevens. Another AUS alumni filmmaker who has had her own work featured in the Cannes Court Métrage, Stevens encouraged Touckley to enter The Vase right before the submissions closed the next day, and the rest is history.
“I am a very proud female filmmaker. The UAE is still growing, and it is important that we support each other and make our mark in these early days to help direct where it can go from here,” Touckley said.
“I have a lot of aspirations as a filmmaker, and this is only the beginning,” she said.
“CAAD only takes 16 multimedia students a year, making it an extremely rigorous and competitive program. To be accepted is to be part of an elite team of young designers,and having the opportunity to learn and be part of this program is nothing short of extraordinary,” she said.
To learn more about the College of Architecture, Art and Design at American University of Sharjah and its outstanding alumni, visit www.aus.edu/caad.