The Oscars and the Berlinale

2015-06-20-1434802632-1461871-CBcWdDAWsAEK83JWith the 88th Academy Awards ceremony to take place this Sunday, Al Bawaba looks back at nine films from the region to be nominated for an Oscar, including
Hany Abu Assad’s Paradise Now (2005) and Omar (2013), and Rachid Bouchareb’s Days of Glory (2006) and Outside the Law (2010), but also Incendies (2010), adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s play.

This year Basil Khalil’s short Ave Maria, which “takes a comedic look at an encounter between a Jewish settler family and Palestinian nuns in the West Bank”  becomes “the first Arab film to run for an Oscar in the Live-Action Short Films section category.”

Meanwhile, Nora Medhat reports that films from the Arab world did well at the Berlinale. Inhebek Hedi, dir. Mohamed Ben Attia, wom the Best First Feature Award, while the lead, Majd Mastoura, received Silver Bear for Best Actor.

Mahdi Fleifel’s A Man Returned,  a short documentary about the battle of a Palestinian refugee trying to reach Europe, was the runner-up in the Short Film category,.

“This last week, I have been asked a great deal why I only make films about refugees. And my answer has been, ‘Because I am one’,” said Fleifel as he picked up his award.Himself a Palestinian refugee who came to Europe at the age of nine, Fleifel tells of the struggles of Reda, a Palestinian who leaves a refugee camp in Lebanon but finally returns after ending up on the streets of Athens, where he becomes a heroin addict.

 

Fleifel’s previous film about the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh and his own experience as a refugee in A World Not Ours (2012), received the Peace Film Award. Below he also speaks about the practicalities of documentaries qualifying for an Oscar nomination.

 


 

The prize of the Ecomenical Jury went to Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah as well as Les Sauteurs (Those Who Jump), by Moritz Siebert, Estephan Wagner, and Abou Bakar Sidibé. Egyptian filmmaker Tamer El-Said’s feature film Akher Ayam El-Madina (In the Last Days of the City) won the Caligari Film Prize, while Lebanese filmmaker Maher Abi Samra’s documentary Makhdoumin (A Maid for Each), won the Peace Film Prize.

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