Two Arab Films Just Won At Toronto International Film Festival
The Arab film world goes from strength to strength and the quality of its output has been highlighted recently at the Toronto International Film Festival, where two Arab films have won top prizes.
Oualid Mouaness’ 1982 and Feras Fayyad’s The Cave were both honoured at the prestigious film festival, currently being held in Canada’s largest city.
Picking up the Netpac and Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary awards respectively, 1982 and The Cave show the breadth and depth of film making in the region.
1982, which premiered at the festival, tells the story of a boy attempting to impress the girl he has a crush on and takes place over the course of one day in the titular year. Set in Lebanon, the film is based on director Mouaness’ experience growing up there.
The judging panel praised the film for its “adventurous, imaginative style and subtle, confident filmmaking.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Feras Fayyad’s documentary The Cave follows a group of female doctors who treat casualties in an underground Syrian hospital while also having to deal with discrimination.
Fayyad’s previous documentary, Last Men In Aleppo won him an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary feature in 2018. His latest appears to be heading the same way. Having won this prize at TIFF it’s also been picked up by National Geographic in America and is tipped for an Oscar nomination of its own.
Thom Powers of TIFF says that The Cave “belongs to the top rank of war films.”
The great news for film in the region comes just days ahead of Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival which begins later this month and runs from 19 to 21 September.
Sitting alongside blockbuster Hollywood productions like Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra, as well as productions from France, Brazil, Finland, Japan and Sweden, 1982 will be shown in the Feature Narrative Competition.