With this year’s Cannes film festival fast approaching, the details of the different juries involved have been announced, and it seems the Arab world will be well-represented. The festival will take place between 13 and 24 May.
So far the juries of the Cinéfondation and Short Films category and the Un Certain Regard category have been revealed.
The announcement includes four names from the Middle East and north Africa: Joana Hadjithomas and Nadine Labaki from Lebanon, Haifaa Al-Mansour from Saudi Arabia, and Abderrahmane Sissako from Mauritania.
Un Certain Regard
Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki and director Haifaa Al-Mansour from Saudi Arabia will be part of the jury of the Un Certain Regard section. Presided over by Isabella Rossellini, filmmaker (United States, Italy), this year’s Un Certain Regard jury will also include Panos H. Koutras, filmmaker (Greece) and Tahar Rahim, actor (France).
Although Labaki has a score of credits as actress and director, her film Where Do We Go Now? which premiered in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes in 2011 brought her into the international spotlight. The film won the François Chalais Prize at Cannes, the People's Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto film festival, and numerous other awards and mentions.
Director Haifaa Al-Mansour made her major impact on the cinema scene with her feature film Wadjda which garnered considerable international recognition, the pinnacle of which was the CinemAvvenire award at the Venice Film Festival and a BAFTA nomination for Best Film Not in the English Language.
Wadjda was also selected as the Saudi Arabian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.
In the official press release, the festival's organisers announce that 19 films will be going head to head in Un Certain Regard, which officially opens on 14 May with a screening of Naomi Kawase’s An (Sweet Red Bean Paste).
Running in parallel to the competition, the Un Certain Regard selection has its own prizewinners, and the winning film will be screened at the festival's closing ceremony.
Cinéfondation and Short Films
Abderrahmane Sissako from Mauritania will head the jury of another section of Cannes festival: the Cinéfondation and Short Films category. The jury will also include Hadjithomas as well as Rebecca Zlotowski (France), actress Cécile de France (Belgium) and actor Daniel Olbrychski (Poland).
Director Abderrahmane Sissako's work is based between Mali and France. His most recent movie, Timbuktu, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. Prior to the Oscars, the film competed for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at Cannes in 2014.
In her turn, Joana Hadjithomas has been directing films since the mid-1990s. Her most acclaimed work is A Perfect Day (2005) which earned her the Don Quixote Award and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival. Her earlier movie
Around the Pink House (1999) was Lebanon's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 72nd Academy Awards, but did not receive a nomination.
According to the press release, "the Cinéfondation and Short Films jury’s task is to award prizes to three of the 18 films made by film school students and shown as part of the Cinéfondation Selection." The jury will also name the winner of the Short Film Palme d’Or from among the nine films selected.
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