Sundance pick for Khoja exec director’s movie


A Khoja executive producer’s acclaimed movie has been picked for the iconic Sundance movie festival.

Earlier this year Zahra Rasool’s immersive film Yemen’s Skies of Terror was nominated for an Emmy Award, the most prestigious accolade in television.

Now Still Here, another movie from her studio, will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in the New Frontier programme.

It is just the latest success from Rasool’s storytelling and innovation studio Al Jazeera Contrast, part of the digital division of Al Jazeera Media Network.

“Visceral experiences”

Still Here recounts “the visceral experiences of over twelve formerly incarcerated women who have re-entered society,” according to the studio.

See a clip here

The narrative is “told cinematically and through the lens of a fictional character named Jasmine Smith, who returns to Harlem after 15 years in prison … crafted together with women who have spent time in prison and are part of Women’s Prison Association (WPA).”

Pioneering approach

It is described as representing a “pioneering transmedia approach to storytelling and signifies a new direction in collaborative and community-centred, immersive journalism.”

Rasool, Al Jazeera Contrast’s head and lead creator, commented, “Providing direct access to personal stories and voices that matter is at the heart of our mission, and we are thrilled that the Sundance Film Festival recognises the importance of inclusion and the necessity to democratise the creative process and push the boundaries of traditional narratives.”

Emerging force

She is renowned as an emerging force in immersive journalism and Still Here was conceived as an interactive audio, virtual reality and augmented reality experience. At Sundance it will be on view from 24 January to 2 February 2020.

Rasool’s team is the only all-female news team specialising in immersive technology.

The Al Jazeera Contrast studio launched in 2017 and has already collected multiple international awards and nominations, including an Emmy nod for Yemen’s Skies of Terror.

Read more about Yemen’s Skies of Terror here


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