During his 35 years as a cinematic writer, Mohamad Malas has tried to achieve his own cinema project, focusing on the ‘missing’ in time and place within the Syrian community. He is keen to enrich the cinematographic language of his films with a literary dimension as a director and a visual dimension as a writer.
Malas has participated in a number of regional and international film festivals, both as a filmmaker and jury member. Malas’ film Ladder to Damascus (2013), which attempts to chronicle the last 50 years of modern Syrian history, was screened at the 30th edition of the Alexandria International Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries (2014) and the Contemporary World Cinema section at the Toronto International Film Festival (2013). Among his other well-known films are the feature drama Passion (2005), the autobiographical The Night (1992) and the coming-of-age drama Dreams of the City (1983). He has also directed many documentaries, such as The Dream (1987), which is about displaced Palestinians living in refugee camps during the Lebanese Civil War. Malas was a member of the jury for the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture (2017, 2018) and also served on juries for regional and international film festivals in France, Switzerland, Russia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Bangladesh and the UAE.
His film awards include the Special Jury Prize, Marrakech Film Festival (2006); First Prize, Freibourg Festival (1993); First Prize, Bruges Festival (1993); Golden Tanit, Carthage Film Festival (1984, 1992); Golden Palm and Silver Award, Valencia International Film Festival (1984, 1993, respectively); and UNESCO Award, Festival de Cannes (1984).
He has published a number of novels and other books, such as Taste of Palm (2010); The Dream. A Diary of the Film (1991/English translation, 2016); and Advertisements about a City That Lived before the War (Beirut, 1979/Damascus, 1990).
Malas studied filmmaking at the Moscow Film Institute (VGIK) from 1969 to 1974. Born in 1945 in Quneitra, Syria, he currently lives and works in Damascus.
Sharjah Film Platform (December 2019)
In parallel with the screening of over 50 films, Sharjah Film Platform (SFP) presents a programme of talks on cinema and artists’ moving image—from panel discussions to in-conversation sessions—that address the creative and conceptual aspects of filmmaking and the latest debates in the film and television industry. Workshops on various topics related to cinema, from acting improvisation to film criticism, will also be offered.