CAI contest 3rd Place winner Mais Elfar – “1001 Dates”

We sat down with CAI contest 3rd Place winner Mais Elfar to discuss “1001 Dates” 

“1001 dates” by Mais Elfar gives a glimpse into the life of Noor, a young woman who goes on several dates until finding compatibility with an unexpected match. It’s a small scope, focused story that allows people to better understand the challenges of dating as an outsider, as well as address the ignorance of western members of society with regards to Arab culture.

This theme is particularly well demonstrated when Noor goes out with Kevin. In one instance, having been told Noor is arabian, Kevin tells her “I thought drinking was forbidden in Islam” showing he doesn’t understand the difference between Arabs and Muslims. Moments like these, that permeate throughout the script, subtly display the need to address cultural illiteracy, particularly in the west. In an interview with Elfar and her co-writer Shahed Najjar that was inspired by their dating experiences as Arab women. 

When asked about what they liked about the Open Screenplay platform, both Mais and Shahed had a lot to say. 

“It’s really intuitive to use and I like the way you can split it up into acts, see the structure of your script…Normally if  you wanted to find a script or competition you would have to look it up and find it, but Open Screenplay gives you an immediate list of what’s out there,” said Shahed. 

Mais added “I really liked the one room concept… that there all these notations and that the settings, actions and voice over are right on the screen. I also like that there are pop up help prompts.”

Both Elfar and Najjar mentioned that this was the first screenwriting competition they had ever entered. However, based on the success with “1001 Dates,” it likely will not be the last. 

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