PM Arabs23 final

three finalists announced for the arab critics’ awards for european films

Three films have been shortlisted for this year's Arab Critics‘ Awards for European Films, which were launched by European Film Promotion (EFP) and the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) five years ago.

From a total of 25 submitted European films, the three finalists are coming from Finland (Fallen Leaves), Italy (Io Capitano) and Serbia (Lost Country). As an exception this year, the winning film will receive the award at the El Gouna Film Festival (14 – 21 December, 2023). Fallen Leaves and Io Capitano are the entries from Finland and Italy in the Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film category, while Serbia’s Lost Country had its world premiere in the Semaine de la Critique section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

With Fallen Leaves the multi-award-winning master of Finnish cinema Aki Kaurismäki decided „to write a story about the themes through which humanity might have a future: the longing for love, solidarity, hope, and respect for other people, nature and anything living or dead.“ 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 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 has been nominated in five categories for the European Film Awards and is Finland‘s entry for the 96th Academy Awards.

Italian director Matteo Garrone wants to „give voice to those who don’t usually have one.“ Io Capitano, a co-production between Italy, Belgium and France, tells the story of the adventurous journey of Seydou and Moussa, two young men who leave Dakar to make their way to Europe. A contemporary Odyssey through the dangers of the desert, the horrors of the detention centres in Libya and the perils of the sea. The film was awarded several prizes at the Venice Film Festival, including the Silver Lion for Best Director, has been nominated in two categories for the European Film Awards, and is Italy’s entry for 96th Academy Awards.

Serbian director Vladimir Perišić paints a nuanced portrait in Lost Country of Serbian adolescents in Belgrade in the mid-90s torn between family ties and a burgeoning political consciousness. After rumours of possible election fraud, students demonstrate on the streets against the Milosević regime. While his friends support the demonstrators, 15-year-old Stefan hesitates to take a political stand: his mother is the government’s press spokesperson. The conflicting loyalties increasingly drive Stefan into isolation. Perišić’s second feature film premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival where lead actor Jovan Ginić was honoured with the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award. He also received an award for Best Actor at the Sarajevo Film Festival. Lost Country is a co-production between Serbia, Croatia, France and Luxembourg.

85 of the most prominent and influential Arab film critics from 15 Arab-speaking countries decided on their top three favourites from 25 nominated films submitted by the European national film institutions – EFP’s member organisations – before announcing the winning film at the El Gouna Film Festival (14 – 21 December, 2023).

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).

about arab cinema center

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.

about cairo international film festival

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).

Fallen Leaves
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Country: Finland

Io Capitano
Director: Matteo Garrone
Country: Ireland

Lost Country
Director: Vladimir Perišić
Country: Serbia