In a country where filmmaking isn’t considered as a mainstream profession and there is no organised industry supporting it, Muzna Al Musafir has managed to make a name for herself, based solely on her work, not only in Oman, but in the region too. Despite limited resources and support, Muzna is known for some of her movies that have received international recognition. But the journey of this young filmmaker does not end at just winning accolades and awards.
Instead Muzna has ensured that she contributes to Oman’s film industry in a novel way by mentoring the aspiring filmmakers of this country. Whenever she gets time off from making films and attending international film festivals, she holds workshops or impromptu gatherings, where well-known names from the industry discuss everything about filmmaking.
She promotes art and culture by organising screenings, talking to young students at the Sultan Qaboos University and other universities, and promoting the nascent film industry in Oman.
Her second film Cholo had won an award for best script at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and was also screened at the Smithsonian Institute in National Museum of African Arts in Washington D.C., the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam, the Institute de Monte Arab in Paris, by TV5 Monde and Voice of America Persia. Her documentaries Pashk and The Goats of Dana were screened at the DOX Film Festival in Copenhagen and at KIFAK in Tunisia, and at the Women Deliver world conference.
Muzna’s first film Niqaab was the winner of the Gulf Film Festival held in Dubai in 2010. The film dealt with the sensitive issue of the veil that Muslim women wear.
Muzna, who was selected to be a jury member of the documentary section of the Saudi Film Festival in Dammam and of the short film competition at the Sultan Qaboos High Centre for Culture and Arts, calls herself a self-made woman as her journey wasn’t easy in a field that is very new to Oman.
“I had to believe in myself first because others need time to believe in you. You always can believe in yourself much faster,” said Muzna, who had to convince herself first and everybody around her that she is creating art with the sole intent of creative expression. “I don’t mean to influence. I reflect what I feel in my work and I see if people can react to what I made,” she said.
Her films are a portrayal of what she sees, visualises, and imagines and since she spent most of her life in Muscat (Oman), the essence and cultural innuendos are reflected in her films, which when screened in other countries make the world aware of the tiny paradise called the Sultanate of Oman.
Currently, she is working on a project called Cloud, which she is actively promoting across the region.