The Secret Garden

الحديقة السريّة

Nour Ouayda | 2023 | 27 minutes
16mm & S8 finished on digital | Color | Stereo
in Arabic | English, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Romanian subtitles


The inhabitants of a city awake one morning to find that never-before-seen trees, plants, and flowers suddenly erupted throughout the streets and in the squares. Strange and mysterious events start taking place as Camelia and Nahla investigate the origins of these new and peculiar creatures.


A film by Nour Ouayda | Produced by The Camelia Committee | Written by Nour Ouayda & Carine Doumit | Editing: Carine Doumit | Sound Design: Kinda Hassan | Narrators: Liwaa Yaziji & Leila Ghandour | Sound Libraries: Tatiana el Dahdah & Ghassan Salhab | Voice Over Recordings : Khyam Allami & Ziad Moukarzel | The horn sound is taken from “Sonic Totem”, an interactive sound sculpture by Floy Krouchi | Color Grading: Chrystel Elias | Technical Production and Consultation: Philip Widmann | Arabic Text Editing & Title Design: Hussein Nasreddine | English Translation: Ghalas Charara | With the support of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC



Special Mention NEW:VISION Competition, CPH:DOX, Denmark, March 2023
Official Competition, Cinéma du Réel, France, March 2023
Critic’s Award for Best Short Film, Gabès Cinema Fen, Tunis, April – May 2023
International Competition, Documenta Madrid, Spain, May 2023
International Competition, Videoex Experimental Film & Video Festival, Switzerland, May – June 2023
Best Experimental Film Award, FestCurtas Vila do Condo, Portugal, July 2023
Documentary Film Competition, Filmski Festival Herceg Novi – Montenegro Film Festival, Montenegro, August 2023
Cineastas na Fronteira (Filmmakers on the Border), Fronteira V International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Brasil, August – September 2023
St Moritz Art Film Festival x Shasha Movies, Switzerland, September 2023
Open City Documentary Festival, UK, September 2023
International Short Film Competition, Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival, Romania, September 2023
Noli me Tangere International Competition, ARKIPEL Jakarta International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival, Indonesia, September – October 2023
Beyond the Canvas Competition, Black Canvas Festival de Cine Contemporáneo, Mexico, September – October 2023
International Short Film Competition, Reykyavik International Film Festival, Iceland, September – October 2023
Archives and Secrets Shorts Program, Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, USA, September 2023
International Competition Award, Festival des cinémas différents et expérimentaux de Paris, France, October 2023
The Camera of Nature: The Non-Human in Cinema, Museo Reina Sofia Madrid, Spain, October 2023
Festival Pour la suite du monde, France, October 2023
FLiMM – Festival Libre International du Moyen Metrage, France, October 2023
Presences Short Film Program, Viennale, Austria, October 2023
International Official Selection, MIDBO – Muestra Internacional Documental de Bogotá, Columbia, November 2023
Honorable Mention International Competition, Media City Film Festival, Canada, November 2023
International Short Film Competition, L’Alternativa Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona, Spain, November 2023
Fulgor 16 * Vegetal, Cinema Fulgor, Portugal, November 2023
International Short and Medium-Length Competition, RIDM – Rencontres Internationales de Documentaire de Montréal, Canada, November 2023
Au-delà du détail, Mardis de l’Observatoire du cinéma québécois, in collaboration with cinEXmedia, Université de Montréal, Canada, November 2023
Traces de Vies – Festival de cinéma documentaire, France, November 2023
Stranger than Fiction, VISIONS, in collaboration with Hors Champ, La lumière, Canada, December 2023
Perspektif Program, Forum Film Dokumenter, Indonesia, December 2023
Award for Best Film, International Competition, Beijing International Short Film Festival, China, December 2023
Best Movie Gli Occhi Sulla Città Award, Laceno d’Oro – Festival Internazionale del Cinema, Italy, December 2023
Home Works Forum 9, Ashkal Alwan, Lebanon, January 2024
e-flux Film Award presents: Special Screenings, USA, February 2024
All the Wild Things, in collaboration with Cinema Akil, UAE, February 2024
The Political Aesthetic Screening Series: Aftermaths of Displacement, La lumière, Canada, February 2024
Measured by Some in Seasons, Images Festival, Canada, April 2024
Réalités et dystopies (exhibition), Aflam – Rencontres Internationales de Cinéma, SOMA, France, April 2024
Children of the Sun, DOXA – Documentary Film Festival, Canada, May 2024