From Nadine Labaki’s Oscar-nominated Capernaum to Rami Malek’s stellar performance in Bohemian Rhapsody, the last few years have seen quite the rise in Arab talent in the film industry, both in front of and behind the lens.
It should then come as no surprise that when it came to this year’s Sundance Film Festival, regional representation did not fall short. Of over 14,000 submissions from 152 different countries, five Arab films made the running, and two have been awarded prestigious Jury Prize awards.
In case you’ve missed it, MILLE rounds up the Arab films that made waves at the festival.
Aziza – Short Film Grand Jury Prize Winner
When it comes to telling refugee stories, few films take a comedic route—and that’s what sets Soudade Kaadan’s Aziza apart. The 13-minute dark comedy’s fresh perspective certainly made it stand out and earned Kaadan the Short Film Grand Jury Prize of almost 10,000 submissions.
Dunya’s Day – Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction Winner
Directed by Raed Alsemari, Dunya’s Day follows the story of a woman, desperate to throw the biggest graduation party—only to be abandoned by her staff. The film made history as the first Saudi movie to be premiered at Sundance.
At its centre, Meryam Joober’s Brotherhood puts the focus on father son relationships. The film follows a hardened Tunisian shepherd’s son who returns home after a long journey with a new wife.
The Great Hack
Directed by Oscar-nominated Egyptian filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehan Noujaim, The Great Hack is a documentary looks at the realities of data exploitation.
Queen of Hearts
Competing in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition is Danish-Egyptian director May el-Toukhy, with her drama Queen of Hearts that follows a successful couple’s seemingly perfect life that’s ultimately tested when the husband’s troubled teenage son moves in.