Arab cinema was in the spotlight during the Venice Film Festival, Critics’ Week and Venice Days this past week.
“The Day I Lost My Shadow”, the debut feature film supported by AFAC and directed by Soudade Kaadan (Syria), received the Lion of the Future Luigi De Laurentiis Award for a Debut Film at the Venice Film Festival last weekend. This represents a historical first as “The Day I Lost My Shadow” is the first Syrian feature to ever compete at the world’s oldest film festival (as part of the Orizzonti section).
“We put our heart and soul for 7 years, and everything we’ve got, to make [this film], because we wanted to tell the story with our own voices, and with dignity. (…) To all Syrians, I dedicate this award for you, and for a better tomorrow”, stated Soudade Kaadan upon receiving the award.
Another film supported by AFAC, “Movement” by Moroccan director Nadir Bouhmouch, won the Final Cut in Venice prize for the best film in post-production. “The Waiting Bench”, by AFAC Grantee Suhaib Gasmelbari, was among the participants in the Final Cut in Venice.
AFAC-supported films registered a marked presence in the Venice Critics’ Week and Venice Days (Giornate degli Autori) with “Screwdriver” (Mafak) by Palestinian director Bassam Jarbawi premiering at Venice Days, and Sudanese debut film “aKasha” by Hajooj Kuka having its world premiere in Venice Critics’ Week.
Among the Arab films awarded in Venice is the Syrian documentary “Still Recording”, directed by Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub, which picked up two awards at Venice Critics’ Week: the Venice Critics’ Week prize, which is voted for by the audience, as well as the Critics' Week prize for technical contribution.