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Sunbird Stories

Sunbird Stories
  • BAyan Shbib
    BAyan Shbib
  • Emile Saba
    Emile Saba
  • Hayat Abu Samra
    Hayat Abu Samra
  • Mohammad Kasaby
    Mohammad Kasaby
  • Mohammed Khateb
    Mohammed Khateb
  • Samah El-Kadi
    Samah El-Kadi
  • Samer Battikh
    Samer Battikh
  • Sohail Dahadai
    Sohail Dahadai

Filmlab Palestine, in collaboration with Cinephilia Productions, presents the Sunbird Stories program—an innovative initiative designed to address the under-representation of children and teens' lives on screen. The program seeks to instigate interest among filmmakers, emphasizing the importance of storytelling for young audiences and recognizing the transformative power it holds in shaping the emotional and psychological fabric of the Arab next generation.

We have been advocating for quality children's film productions in the Arab region since 2014, notably through the Next Generation program. In collaboration with Cinephilia Productions, the turning point occurred in 2020 with the launch of the Sunbird Stories 1st Edition program. Following a successful workshop in Palestine, the initiative expanded to Arab film professionals, offering an opportunity for filmmakers to develop their projects. A jury of film industry professionals will award up to two projects with a cash prize providing regional recognition and attention.


The eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must be the writer or the writer/director of the project submitted. Projects with no directors attached are not eligible. (Writers with no director attached to their projects are highly encouraged to apply).
  •  Applicant must be from the Arab World (residing in The Arab World or in the diaspora).
  • Must be in the development of a narrative short film screenplay targeting children and young audiences (coming of age, youth story, age 11-15) (age 8-14).
  • Must have a 3-page treatment of the proposed project.
  • Co-writing teams are eligible to apply. A director must be attached at the time of submission; a producer must be attached to complete the program.
  • Must have written or written/directed at least two short films that have premiered at international film festivals.
  •  Must commit to and attend all the program sessions and activities. Failure to attend the sessions will result in award disqualification.
  • Must agree to mention in the credit of the completed film “Developed and produced in Filmlab Palestine and Cinephilia Productions Sunbird Stories”
  •  Must complete the application form online by the deadline. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. No exceptions.
  • Participation fees: 250 USD per team upon selection.
  •  If awarded the production prize, the applicant(s) must agree to follow the timeline of production set by Filmlab Palestine and Cinephilia Productions to produce the film. Failure to do so will result in the withdrawal of the award.

Previous Winners: 

  • Samer Battikhi and Hayat Abu Samra - The Red Stripe 
  • Sohail Dahdal - Khaled & Nema
  • Mohammed Kateb and Mohammed kassaby - Flying Salama
  • Emile Saba and Bayan Shbib - Ornina & The Ghoula