Mahmoud Sabbagh's award-winning film Barakah Meets Barakah will compete at the Prospects of Arab Cinema (PAC) program at the 38th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), running from 15 to 24 November.
Barakah Meets Barakah is Sabbagh's debut film, selected to represent Saudi Arabia at the 2017 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign-Language Film category. In its world premiere at the 66th Berlinale the film won the Ecumenical Jury Prize within the Forum section.
According to the film's distributor, Mad Solutions, Barakah Meets Barakah tells the story of “two lovers who are united in an environment hostile to dating of any kind. He is Barakah, the municipal civil servant from Jeddah, who is also an amateur actor in a theatrical troupe. She is Barakah, a wild beauty, who functions as a crowd-puller for her stylish mother's boutique and runs her own widely-seen vlog."
"They both defy customs and traditions, as well as the religious police, using modern communication technologies and traditional dating methods.”
The film was selected at the 60th BFI London Film Festival to compete in the Laugh section, and was chosen for the Special Presentations section at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival.
The award winning film has been released in cinemas across the UAE in early September and will reportedly be released across the region.
The Prospects of Arab Cinema (PAC) is an independent parallel program and competition for long feature films, held during the CIFF between 16 and 24 November and organized by the Egyptian Filmmakers Syndicate (EFMS).
Eight films will compete for three awards this year: the Salah Abou-Seif Prize For Best Film, plus $5000; the Saad El-Deen Wahba Prize For Best Artistic Contribution, plus $3000; and the Radwan El-Kashef Prize (Jury's Appreciation Certificate).
Sabbagh was born in Jeddah and studied documentary filmmaking in New York.
He later worked as an independent film director and producer in Saudi Arabia. His repertoire includes the documentary The Story of Hamza Shahata (2013) and the TV series Cash (2014).
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