Labyrinth of the Heart

The film follows the lost heart of young Grace, depriving her of her feelings and desire for life. In an attempt to have her heart back, Grace is thrown into a labyrinth by hidden forces, after she finds her heart at a “Lost and Found” tent in a carnival. While navigating her way through the labyrinth, Grace keeps running into her heart, but whenever she nears it, she is attacked by a ghost-like creature, and is forced to give up retrieving her heart. She continues to walk the labyrinth, until she reaches its center, where her heart changes direction.

  • Mariam Khayat
  • Mariam Khayat
  • Shahlaa Aftab
  • Mariam Khayat
  • Joelle Tashkandi
    Key Cast
  • Tuleen Hafiz
  • Mariam Khayat
  • Hanaa Mukhtar
    Sound Designer and Mixer
  • Mariam Khayat
  • Athari Alharthy
  • Sondos Almaghrabi
  • Aseel Hanboli
  • Hajer Bogshan
  • Sara Khattab
  • Sondos Almaghrabi
  • Mariam Khayat
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    drama, thriller, Fantasy, mystery
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 7 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 25, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    Saudi Arabia
  • Country of Filming:
    Saudi Arabia
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Silk Road International Film Festival
    March 9, 2018
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Ahsa Short Films Festival
    Saudi Arabia
    April 8, 2018
    Asian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival
    United Arab Emirates
    November 20, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Anim!Arte - International Student Animation Festival of Brazil
    Rio de Janeiro
    November 20, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Hyperfest International Student Film Festival
    December 3, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Crossing the Screen
    Eastbourne, East Sussex
    United Kingdom
    November 29, 2018
  • Green Gabès Film Festival
    March 5, 2018
    Best Student Film
  • Ndiva Women's Film Festival
    November 1, 2018
  • Malmo Arab Film Festival
    October 5, 2018
Director Biography - Mariam Khayat

Mariam is an introvert in a most extrovert society, who is less confused about the world when she sits in the dark and writes. She was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, and recently moved to Los Angeles, California.

She is currently pursuing an MFA degree in Animation and Digital Arts from the University of Southern California. Her interests are in digital animation, in addition to exploring concepts related to dreams and the human psyche in her films through narrative and experimental media.

Mariam worked on several short animations. She edited a feature film and a few short films, and was the offline-editor for a few TV shows. She also worked on the producing teams of several feature and short films. Most recently, she taught at the Animation Diploma Program at Dar Alhekma University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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Director Statement

The film resembles growing pains, both emotionally and spiritually, but is resembled physically through the hole in Grace’s chest in the place of her heart. The film also resembles the different phases we go through life, by losing ourselves and finding it, constantly and interchangeably. A labyrinth is chosen as the main location for the film because it symbolises wholeness. It also deals with passage of time, spiritual growth, enlightenment, connection to source, rebirth, and progression. And once one reaches the center of the labyrinth, they can relax, meditate, and seek answers to questions.

The story follows Grace who has a hole in the place of her heart, and has no facial features or expressions. Grace enters a “Lost & Found” tent at a carnival, where she finds her heart in a jar amongst endless jars of lost dreams of people, old and young. One frame shows the jar of her heart right through the hole in her chest, indicating how close she is to it, and how it belongs to her. However as soon as she attempts to grab her heart, a ghost-like creature attacks, and she and her heart disappear, and fall into a labyrinth. Inside the labyrinth, Grace walks through with the purpose of retrieving her heart, but every time she nears her heart, she loses it again. Until she reaches the center of the labyrinth, when her heart drowns before her very eyes. This is immediately followed by Grace growing a new heart and face.

The colours chosen for the character are of an innocent young child, rich red blouse like her heart, regular hair and skin and shorts colours for a regular child, and they contrast well with the backgrounds. The background colours have a low contrast within a single background, but with several different shades of certain hues, so as not to distract Grace from seeing her goal; her heart, and so they both can stand out to the viewer. The sounds of the film are generally eerie and represent the ghostliness of the place, ending with a hopeful kind of music that fits the colourful theme of the film, and its ending that could be interpreted subjectively.