Selahy (My Weapon)

A short narrative film that takes place in war-torn Yemen and follows a young deaf girl, Saleemah who has one major love in this world; her camera which her brother Aqeel introduced her to. Aqeel works as a news reporter and is unable to take her out to film because he is preoccupied covering the war. Frustrated, Saleemah wanders out of the house during an impending air strike. To make matters worse, she loses her hearing aids.

  • Alaa Zabara
    Director
  • Alaa Zabara
    Writer
  • Pierre Bagley
    Producer
    From the Rough
  • Naji Salameh
    Director of Photography
  • Malak Nassar
    Key Cast
    "Saleemah"
  • Mohammad Nizar
    Key Cast
    "Aqeel"
    JINN (Netflix Arabic Series)
  • Sameera Asir
    Cast
    Sergio (2020)
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    سلاحي
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
    Yemen
  • Country of Filming:
    Jordan
  • Language:
    Arabic
  • Shooting Format:
    Blackmagic ursa mini 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes - George Mason University
  • Slamdance Film festival
    Park City
    United States
  • Bentonville Film Festival
    Bentonville, AR
    United States
    August 7, 2021
    Official Selection
  • HollyShorts (Oscar Qualifying)
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    United States
  • NewFilmmakers Los Angeles
  • Mizna Arab Film Fest
  • Arab Film Festival @ Arab American National Museum
  • Watersprite Film Festival
    Campbridge
    United Kingdom
    Winner Performance Award
  • Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival
Director Biography - Alaa Zabara

Alaa Zabara is an independent Hard-of-Hearing Yemeni-American Director and Cinematographer. Drawn to the power of photographs from an early age, she started to document the daily life around her through the use of a camera. These documentations became her conversation with, and introduction to, the world. She became attracted by the ability of cinema to change the hearts and minds of an audience, highlight the stories that need to be told, and to amplify the voices of the voiceless.

Her approach in telling stories is, through vision, to challenge herself in telling stories that come from personal experience and have a representation of what is usually untold or hidden. She expresses her take on the world creatively, insightfully, and humanely. She likes to play with perception and nudge the audience that they are watching something established by an Arab Hard-of-Hearing woman. Rather than trying to surprise the audience, she strives to unveil potential connections to the characters or the story, creating a new view of their own lives. She wants them to relate to her not as a filmmaker but as a human, filling the distance that comes between each of us. Her film Selahy "My Weapon" (Bentonville Film Festival, HollyShorts) primarily focusing on deaf/hard of hering story living in a war zone. She also recently finished a project that was selected to present a work of non-fiction for the Arab American National Museum 2020 (AANM).

Alaa is one of the participants for its third annual RespectAbility Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. She recently finished the Minorities in Film (MiFIM) branded Lab to demystify the process of working in the commercial industry and was a Semi-Finalists for the Paxeros 2020 inaugural WCCDP to direct a spot for Subaru.

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Director Statement

My family and I were evacuated from the crisis in Yemen and being hard of hearing, I felt that it is important for me to show the perspective of all the innocent children who are suffering from the war. This film is a universal story that can relate to any country who has experienced the ravages of war, through the perspective and lens of a girl who is hard of hearing.