CIFF to host second Arab Critics’ Awards for European Films

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Oct 2020

Powered by the Arab Cinema Center and the European Film Promotion, the award will select the best European film out of the entries submitted by 37 national film promotion institutes from all over Europe


The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) will host the Arab Critics’ Awards for European Films at its 42nd edition scheduled to take place at the Egyptian capital between 2 and 10 December.

"We believe in the role of awards that open new windows for Egyptian and Arab audiences on the diversity of the European cinema," said filmmaker Mohamed Hefzi who is leading the CIFF for the third round, in a press release launched on Monday by the CIFF.

For the second year in a row now, powered by the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) and the European Film Promotion (EFP), the Arab Critics’ Award for European Films will select the best European film out of the entries submitted by 37 national film promotion institutes from all over Europe.

"We'd like to welcome the 14 amazing film critics who have newly joined the jury," stated the ACC earlier this week adding "A special shout out to the amazing Palestinian film critic Ola Al-Sheikh who has been appointed Manager of the Arab Critics’ Awards for European Films. The jury has now expanded to encompass 56 members from across 14 Arabic-speaking countries.

New members (in alphabetical order):

The newly joined film critics in the jury are Ahmed Sami (Egypt), Aliaa Talaat (Egypt), Chaf Tabbara (Lebanon), Doha Elwardaney (Egypt), Fahad Alestsa (Saudi Arabia), Hind Mezaina (UAE), Mohamed Allal (Algeria), Mohamed Awad (Egypt), Mohamed Tarek (Egypt), Mohamed Sayed Abdel Rehim (Egypt), Nidal Queshha (Syria), Rahma El Haddad (Egypt), Taher Alwan (Iraq) and Yousra Chikhawi (Tunisia).

This adds to the arsenal of some of the most acclaimed critics including; Abdelkarim Ouakrim (Morocco), Abdelkrim Kadri (Algeria), Abdul Sattar Naji(Kuwait), Ali Wajeeh (Syria), Amal El-Gamal (Egypt), Andrew Mohsen (Egypt), Erfan Rashid (Iraq), Essam Zakaria (Egypt), Hammadi Gueroum (Morocco) and Hassan Haddad (Bahrain).

As well as, Hauvick Habéchian (Lebanon), Houda Ibrahim (Lebanon), Husam Asi (Palestine), Ibrahim Haj Abdi (Syria), Ikbal Zalila (Tunisia), Kadhum Saloom (Iraq), Kais Kassem (Iraq), Khaled Mahmoud (Egypt), Khalid Ali (Sudan), Khalil Demmoun (Morocco), Lamia Guiga(Tunisia), Magda Khirallah (Egypt), Mahdi Abbas (Iraq), Mohamed Atef (Egypt), Mohamed Benaziz (Morocco), Mohammed Chouika (Morocco) and  Mohammed Rouda(Lebanon).

In addition to, Nabil Hadji (Algeria), Nada Azhari (Syria), Nadim Jarjoura (Lebanon), Nageh Hassan (Jordan), Ola Kamel Al-Sheikh (Palestine, UAE), Ola Shafey (Egypt), Ossama Abdel Fattah (Egypt), Rachid Naim (Morocco), Narjes Torchani (Tunisia),  Rasha Hosny (Egypt), Safaa Elaisy (Egypt), Safaa Jibara Al-saleh (Iraq, UK), Tarek Ben Chaabane (Tunisia), Tarek El Shinnawi (Egypt) and Ziad Khuzai (Iraq).

'A Great Visibility'

"Once again, current European films will be seen by a jury of renowned Arab film critics, and the best film will be honoured with the Arab Critic Award at the Cairo International Film Festival which offers our films a great visibility in the Arab world," stated the EFP Managing Director Sonja Heinen.

In a joint statement, Maher Diab and Alaa Karkouti, founders of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) comment: "Despite all the challenges cuased ahead of the global film industry this year, our duty is to overcome these obstacles; to continue in organizing key film-related activities, especially the first-of-a-kind Arab Critics' Awards for European Films. We are thrilled and proud to launch the second edition of the Award in cooperation with EFP and Cairo International Film Festival."

This prize is the ACC's now well-established Critics' Awards to boost film diversity in the region and raise the interest of distributors and industry players for outstanding European films. This initiative also aims to cast light on the distinguished film critics from several Arab countries and their important role in opening up new perspectives and bridging cultural idiosyncrasies, as the ACC states.

Organized by MAD-Solutions, the ACC describes their mission as "an international promotional platform for Arab cinema with its mission to provide the filmmaking industry with a professional window to connect with their counterparts from all over the world; through a number of events that it organizes as well as providing networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution among others."

MAD-Solutions say they are "the first Pan-Arab independent studio and fully integrative marketing and creative consultancy for the Arab film and Entertainment Industry,"  as they introduce their mission on the social media platforms.

The 42nd edition of the CIFF, that initially faced weeks of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, was previously planned for 19-28 November before the date adjustment was made "to ensure a safer and more successful festival, [following] health procedures and measures approved by the Egyptian Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO)."

With the opening and closing ceremonies being hosted outdoors, the CIFF also hosts third edition of ‘Cairo Industry Day’ will be held from 4 to 7 December, while the activities of ‘Cairo Film Connection’ will take place from 5 to 7 December.

The CIFF is one of the oldest and most prestigious festivals in the Arab world and Africa. It is also the only festival in both regions accredited as Category A by the International Federation of Film Producers (FIAPF) alongside 14 other festivals that hold international competitions.

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