The year 2020 starts with an unprecedented presence of Arab cinema in reviews and picks by critics who come from countries where Arab films were rarely watched. The Arab Cinema Center (ACC) has revealed the expansion of the jury committee of its Critics' Awards for Arab Films this year, by adding 67 new critics to reach the total of 142 film critics from 57 countries. The critics are currently in the process of nominating the winners of this year's awards, who will be announced during the next edition of the Cannes Film Festival in May, 2020. This is the highest number of jury members for a film competition in the Arab world, in addition to the fact that the Critics' Awards for Arab Films is the first-of-its-kind event in the Arab world.
"We've developed an annual strategy that aims to increase the number of critics participating from all over the world. We are keen on adding more important names in the field of film criticism to the jury committee of the Critics' Awards for Arab Films every year. It's worth mentioning that a considerable number of the critics who recently joined the committee have previously wrote reviews on Arab films in their mother tongue, which indicates the increasing presence of Arab cinema on the international scene. By reaching 142 film critics from 57 countries, we can now give the world a better idea of the content of Arab cinema." Maher Diab and Alaa Karkouti, founders of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC), said.
The newly joined critics come from different countries across five continents; Asia: Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, and Korea, Africa: South Africa, Europe: Portugal, Hungary, Austria, Greece, Spain, Germany, Ukraine, Ireland, Poland, Belarus, Chez Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Serbia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia and The Netherlands, North America: Canada, and South America: Perú.
"We aim to further highlight film criticism regionally and internationally. We developed a strategy that will be implemented through several projects related to film criticism. After expanding the Critics' Awards by
by adding the Arab Critics' Awards for European Films last year, this initiative has now become an important regional and international platform for bringing together this huge number of critics from all around the world." Diab and Karkouti said.
The 4th edition of the Critics' Awards for Arab Films includes a huge selection of Arab films produced in 2019 that can easily be viewed by the critics on Festival Scope, sponsor of the Critics' Awards for the fourth year in a row, before sending their nominations of the best films and filmmakers to the Arab Cinema Center.
Launched its first edition on the margins of the 70th Cannes Film Festival, the Critics' Awards for Arab Films is an initiative organized by the Arab Cinema Center (ACC). The awards are given to the best Arab film productions every year in the following categories: Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Director, Best Writer, Best Actress and Best Actor. Egyptian film critic Ahmed Shawky serves as Manager of the Critics' Awards for Arab Films. For the first time in the history of Arab cinema, the jury committee brought together 140 of the most prominent Arab and international critics from 57 countries from all over the world this year.
The final list of nominees for the Critics' Awards were selected according to the following criteria: the films must have been premiered at international film festivals outside of the Arab world during 2019, and at least one of the production companies must be Arab (regardless of the size of its contribution in the production of the film), in addition, the films must be feature-length films (fiction or documentary).
List of critics appointed for nominating and selecting the winners of the Critics' Awards for Arab Films (in alphabetical order):
Abdelkarim Ouakrim | Morocco, Abdelkrim Kadri| Algeria, Abdul Sattar Naji | Kuwait, Abraham Domínguez Belloso | Spain, Adam Kruk | Poland, Ahmed Shawky | Egypt, Akiko KOBARI | Japan, Alexandra Porshneva | Kazakhstan, Alexandros Romanos Lizardos | Greece, Ali Wajeeh | Syria, Alin TAŞÇIYAN | Turkey, Alissa Simon | USA, Amal Gamal | Egypt, Amber Wilkinson | UK, Anders Larsson |Sweden, Andrea Bosco | Italy, Andreea Patru | Spain, Romania, Andrei Vasilenko | Russia, Andrew Mohsen | Egypt, Anne-Christine Loranger | Canada, Barbara Głębicka-Giza | Poland, Bojidar Stefanov Manov | Bulgaria, Britt Sørensen | Norway, Carmen Gray | New Zealand, UK, Chang Pau | Korea, Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi |Italy, Chris Newbould | UK, UAE, Christos Skyllakos | Greece, Deborah Young | USA, Dita Rietuma | Latvia, Djia Mambu | Belgium, Dora Carpenter |Tunisia, UK, Dragan Rubesa | Croatia, Eduardo Guillot | Spain, Edvinas Puksta |Lithuania, Elena Rubashevska | Ukraine, Erfan Rashid | Iraq, Italy, Ernesto Diezmartinez | Mexico, Essam Zakaria | Egypt, Fahad Alestsa | Saudi Arabia, Fionnuala Halligan | UK, Gautaman Bhaskaran | India, Giona A. Nazzaro | Switzerland, Giovanni Vimercati | Italy, György Báron | Hungary, Hammadi Gueroum| Morocco, Harri Römpötti | Finland, Hassan Haddad | Bahrain, Hassouna Mansouri | Tunisia, Hauvick Habéchian | Lebanon, Hind Mezaina |UAE, Houda Ibrahim | Lebanon, France, Husam Asi | Palestine, UK, Ibrahim Alariss | Lebanon, Ibrahim Haj Abdi | Syria, Ida Madsen Hestman | Norway, Ikbal Zalila | Tunisia, Irena Kotelovich | Belarus, Ivan Magrin-Chagnolleau | France, James B. Evans | UK, Canada, Jay Weissberg | USA, Jean-Max MEJEAN | France, Jessica Kiang |Ireland, Jim Quilty | Canada, Beirut, Jon Asp | Sweden, José Romero | Perú, José Teodoro | Canada, Justine Smith |Canada, Kadhum Saloom| Iraq, Kais Kassem | Iraq, Sweden, Kaj van Zoelen |The Netherlands, Kaleem Aftab | UK, Karsten Kastenlan | Germany, Katharina Dockhorn | Germany, Khaled Mahmoud | Egypt, Khalid Ali | Sudan/UK, Khalil Demmoun| Morocco, Kirill Razlogov | Russia, Kiva Reardon | Canada, Lamia Guiga | Tunisia, Lili Hering | Germany, Switzerland, Madelyn Most-Davis | France, Madhu Eravankara | India, Magda Khirallah | Egypt, Mahdi Abbas | Iraq, Malik Berkati | Switzerland, Mante Valiunaite | Lithuania, Marc Adams | UK, Marco Lombardi| Italy, Mariana Hristova | Bulgaria, Martin Botha | South Africa, Massimo Lechi | Italy, Meena Karnik | India, Mohamed Allal | Algeria, Mohamed Atef | Egypt, Mohamed Benaziz | Morocco, Mohammed Chouika | Morocco, Mohammed Rouda | Lebanon, Müge Turan | Turkey, Murtada Elfadl | USA, Nabil Hadji | Algeria, Nada Azhari | Syria, Nadim Jarjoura | Lebanon, Nageh Hassan | Jordan, Narjes Torchani | Tunisia, Nidal Queshha | Syria, Nino Kovačić | Croatia, Ola Kamel Al-Sheikh | Palestine, UAE, Ola Shafey | Egypt, Olivier Barlet | France, Ossama Abdel Fattah | Egypt, Pamela Biénzobas | Chile, France, Pamela Hutchinson | UK, Paulo Portugal | Portugal, Pavlina Jeleva | Bulgaria, Peter Stuart Robinson| UK, Canada, Pragya Mishra | UK, Rachid Naim | Morocco, Ramy Abd El Razek | Egypt, Rasha Hosny | Egypt, Rita Di Santo | Italy, UK, Roberto Tirapelle | Italy, Ronnit Hasson | Sweden, Rubén Peralta Rigaud | Dominican Republic, USA, Sadia Khalid | Bangladesh, Safaa Elaisy | Egypt, Safaa Jibara Al-saleh| Iraq, UK, Sanjin Pejkovic | Sweden, Sharofat Arabova | Tajikistan, Sunchica Unevska Gvodenovikj | Macedonia, Susanne Gottlieb | Austria, Sydney J. Levine | USA, Tara Karajica | Serbia, Tarek Ben Chaabane | Tunisia, Tarek El Shinnawi | Egypt, Teresa Vena | Switzerland, Teréz Vincze | Hungary, Viera Langerová |Czech Republic, Slovakia, Wang Yao | China, Yousra Chikhawi | Tunisia, Yun-hua Chen| Taiwan, Ziad Khuzai |Iraq.
Organized by MAD Solutions, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) celebrates its sixth year since its inception in 2015. A nonprofit 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-on-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.
The ACC also launched an English-language Arab Cinema Guide, available on its website, which is a comprehensive cinematic guide that comprises a variety of tools presented collectively for the first time to offer information on Arab cinema to filmmakers inside and outside of the Arab world. It also aims to facilitate filmmakers' access to international markets and help film industry representatives to easily identify Arab film productions.