Ajyal Film Festival 2023

All Films

Once (Marra)

Arab Short Film Competition

Nayla Al Khaja / Short Narrative / United Arab Emirates / 2009 / 16 min / Color / HDCAM
In Arabic / English subtitles
Interests: Drama, Suspense, Social Issues
Qatar Premiere


This short traces a day in the life of an Arab teenage girl as she gets ready for the initial meeting with the boy of her dreams. We see her transform from a child to a woman, taking risks and telling lies, in order to find what she imagines must be true love.

Official Film Website

About the Directors

Nayla Al Khaja
An Emirati filmmaker born in 1978, Al Khaja has previously produced and directed three films including "Unveiling Dubai," "Arabana," and "Once." She was named Best Emirati Filmmaker at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2007, and was one of the first female Emirati filmmakers to set up her own production company.


Nayla Al Khaja
Nayla Al Khaja
Nayla Al Khaja
Sebastian Funke
Michael Pigneguy
Jan Vogel
Nifin Ghazar Al Din, Hammad Bassim Al Khalif, Shahad Mesk, Bassim Sami Al Khalif

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