The Finnish-German co-production Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki has won this year’s Arab Critics' Awards for European Films, which is being presented for the fifth time by European Film Promotion (EFP) and Arab Cinema Center (ACC).
Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki was announced as this year’s winning film on the evening of 16th December at the El Gouna Film Festival which will be running until 21 December. The Finnish director, who could not attend the festival in person, sent greetings to El Gouna:
“Ladies and gentlemen, dear film critics and other colleagues, I sincerely thank you for this honour. Unfortunatly, I can´t be there, but I wish you all a pleasant evening in these otherwise sad times.”
The Finnish-German co-production tells the story of two lonely people who meet each other by chance in the Helsinki night and try to find the first, only, and ultimate love of their lives. Fallen Leaves was nominated in five categories for the European Film Awards and is Finland‘s entry for the 96th Academy Awards. „In this film“, multi-award-winning master of Finnish cinema Aki Kaurismäki says, „I casually tip my too-small hat to my household gods Bresson, Ozu and Chaplin, but I am still solely responsible for this catastrophic failure.“ The tragicomedy, which screened in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and was awarded the Jury Prize, is the fourth part of Kaurismäki’s working-class trilogy (Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, and The Match Factory Girl).
The Arab Critics’ Awards for European Films was launched in 2019 by EFP and ACC. It is a spin-off from the ACC’s now well-established Critics‘ Awards to boost film diversity in the region and raise the interest of sales companies and the industry for outstanding European films. This initiative also aims to cast a spotlight on the distinguished film critics from 15 Arab-speaking countries and their important role in opening up new perspectives and bridging cultural idiosyncrasies. The previous four winners were God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya by Teona Strugar Mitevska (2019), Undine by Christian Petzold (2020), 107 Mothers by Péter Kerekes (2021) and EO by Jerzy Skolimowski (2022). Due to the cancellation of the Cairo International Film Festival, this year’s Award Ceremony was hosted by the El Gouna Film Festival.
Organized by MAD Solutions in 2015, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is a non-profit organization registered in Amsterdam. The ACC is an international promotional platform for Arab cinema as it provides the filmmaking industry with a professional window to connect with their counterparts from all over the world through a number of events that it organizes. The ACC also provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution, among others. The ACC’s activities vary between film markets, stands, and pavilions, networking sessions, and one-to-one meetings bringing together Arab and foreign filmmakers, welcome parties, as well as meetings with international organizations and festivals, and the issuance of the Arab Cinema Magazine to be distributed at the leading international film festivals and markets. Furthermore, newsletter subscription is now available on the ACC’s website, allowing users to obtain digital copies of the Arab Cinema Magazine, as well as news on the ACC’s activities, notifications of application dates for grants, festivals and offers from educational and training institutions, updates on Arab films participating at festivals, exclusive news on the Arab Cinema LAB, and highlights from the ACC’s partners and their future projects.
El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) was founded in 2017 with the mission to showcase a diverse range of films catering to a creative and well-versed audience. Designed for artists and filmmakers; GFF aspires to foster communication between cultures and filmmakers to benefit the industry and our region through the art of filmmaking, by connecting filmmakers from the region with their international counterparts in the spirit of cooperation and cultural exchange. The festival is dedicated to the discovery of new voices and strives to be a catalyst for the development of cinema in the Arab world, particularly through its industry segment, CineGouna Platform.
The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) is one of the oldest and most attended festivals in the Arab world and Africa. It is the only festival in the Arab and African region to be accorded category “A” status by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations in Paris (FIAPF).