Arab Cinema Center Critics Awards shortlist announced

The Insult, Wajib and Volubilis vie for Best Feature

by Amber Wilkinson

Mohammad Bakri, left, has been nominated for best actor for Wajib, which is also vying for Best Film and Best Screenplay
Mohammad Bakri, left, has been nominated for best actor for Wajib, which is also vying for Best Film and Best Screenplay

The Arab Cinema Center has announced the shortlist of nominees for the 2nd Annual Critics awards. The awards, which will be announced during Cannes Film Festival, will have been voted on by 62 critics from 28 countries.

Film analyst Alaa Karkouti, co-founder of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) and CEO of MAD Solutions, said: "It is a great achievement to bring together 62 film critics from across 28 countries to view dozens of the finest home-grown films that the Arab cinema has to offer and to end up with a list of nominees from across eight Arab countries. This comes as a good indicator that many Arab countries have been taking the right steps to boost the Arab filmmaking industry. "

Maher Diab, creative director and co-founder of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) and MAD Solutions, added: "2017 is one of the best years for Arab cinema, which made following the updates of the Annual Critics Awards nominations exciting and entertaining for me . Many Arab films and filmmakers deserve to reach this semi-final stage. I would like to congratulate all the nominees , especially those in the new category of the Best Documentary Film, for which films are made in a region with never-ending events. "

Vying for Best Feature Film are the Ziad Doueiri's Oscar-shortlisted The Insult, which tells how an argument over a leaking pipe spirals out of control, Annemarie Jacir's father and son story Wajib and Faouzi Bensaïdi's story of a young married couple whose lives are altered dramatically by an incident at the husbands work in Volubilis, from Morocco.

Film Critic Ahmed Shawky, manager of the Critics Awards, said: "The expansion that was witnessed by the jury of the Critics Awards' jury has enriched the voting experience, making it more competitive. Interestingly, the different backgrounds of the jury members have resulted in a similar diversity of the nominations, which included nominees from 13 films from across eight different countries, this year, which reflects the powerful diversity of distinguished Arab films produced during 2017. "

The final list of nominees are below:

Best Feature Film

  • The Insult, Ziad Doueiri, Lebanon
  • Wajib, Annemarie Jacir, Palestine
  • Volubilis, Faouzi Bensaïdi, Morocco

Best Director

  • Ziad Doueiri, The Insult, Lebanon
  • Sofia Djama, The Blessed, Algeria
  • Hicham Lasri, Headbang Lullaby, Morocco

Best Screenplay

Best Actor

  • Adel Karam, The Insult, Lebanon
  • Amr Saad, The Preacher, Egypt
  • Mohammad Bakri, Wajib, Palestine

Best Actress

  • Zahraa Ghandour, The Journey, Iraq
  • Sondos Belhassen, Benzine, Tunisia
  • Mariam Al Ferjani, Beauty And The Dogs, Tunisia

Best Documentary Film

The final list of nominees for the Critics Awards were selected according to the following criteria: the films must have been premiered at international film festivals outside of the Arab world during 2017, and at least one of the production companies must be Arab (regardless of the size of its contribution in the production of the film), in addition to that the films must be feature-length films (fiction or documentary).

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