In their official statement, MAD Solutions, a Cairo-based company that specialises in public relations and marketing for the film and entertainment industry, announced that Palestinian short Ave Maria will hit the North America's cinemas today, prior to the announcement of the 88th Academy Award winners.
The screening will be part of the programme, which includes all the 15 live-action, animated and documentary short films, showcased in US cinemas.
Directed by Basil Khalil, the 14-minute comedy short tells the story of Palestinian nuns living in the middle of the West Bank and who have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of Israeli settlers’ car breaks down outside their convent at the beginning of the Sabbath. The family needs to get home but cannot operate the phone, while the nuns have taken a vow of silence.
The film is a French/German/Palestinian co-production, spoken in Arabic, English, and Hebrew. The film’s cast includes Maria Zareek, Hoda El-Imam, and Shady Srour.
Recently, Ave Maria won the Silver Egg award for Basil Khalil and the Vilko Filač Award for Best Cinematography for Eric Mizrahi at the 8th Küstendorf International Film and Music Festival in Serbia. On the same night, the film also received the Special Jury Recognition for Short Film award at Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) in USA.
The film also received the Prix de Hermès (Best Short Film) award at Fréjus Short-film Festival and competed at the 3rd Sudan Independent Film Festival (SIFF) in Sudan, which runs until 27 January.
Ave Maria is competing for Oscars along with Everything Will Be Okay (Austria), Shok (Kosovo), Stutterer (Ireland), and Day One (or Alles Wird Gut-U.S.).
In an interview with Reuters Arabic, the Palestinian director Basil Khalil, considered the production's participation in the Oscars already a success saying that the Academy Awards "is a huge honour, because it is the most prominent award, as well as the most important annual film event."
Another Arab film to make it to the Oscars nominees list is the Jordanian film Theeb, which will run for the Best Foreign Language Film award.
The 2016 Oscars winners will be announced 28 February during the 88th Academy Awards ceremony.
For more arts and culture news and updates, follow Ahram Online Arts and Culture on Twitter at @AhramOnlineArts and on Facebook at Ahram Online: Arts & Culture