The Arab Cinema Center Presents the Achievement Award for Film Critics to Lebanese Film Critic Mohammed Rouda & American Film Critic Sydney Levine

The Arab Cinema Center Presents the Achievement Award for Film Critics to Lebanese Film Critic Mohammed Rouda & American Film Critic Sydney Levine
10 July 2021:

Within the activities of the 74th Cannes Film Festival, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) has announced that the recipients of its Achievement Award for Film Critics this year are Lebanese Film Critic Mohammed Rouda & American Film Critic Sydney Levine for their inspiring careers in film criticism in the Arab world. The Arab Cinema Center (ACC) also dedicated a section that sheds the light on Mohammed Rouda and Sydney Levine’s careers, within the new edition of the Arab Cinema Magazine.

Film Critic Mohammed Rouda commented on this, saying "I’m thrilled to receive this award in 2021, the Year that witnesses the comeback of the world's prestigious Cannes Film Festival. I’m humbled to be awarded such an award from the Arab Cinema Center and its inspiring director Alaa Karkouti. I wasn’t able to be with you because of some emergency situation, and unlike some movies, no one can be in two places at the same time.

"As for me, most of you know how much I loved cinema, which should not be just a word we carry around. Millions of people express their love of cinema on a daily basis, by attending, watching, exchanging ideas and being there for the most exciting of all arts. Film criticism is not just linked to the art of cinema, it is an integral part of it. For the new generation, this is what I, humbly, advise: learn more and write better." Mohammed Rouda added.

Film Critic Sydney Levine, says, "To be awarded for achievement by The Arab Cinema Center is an honor, which makes me feel so proud and so much more responsible for bringing awareness to the Middle East and North Africa through their artists' ever increasing cinematic excellence! I have achieved very little compared to what these filmmakers have achieved over the past few years."

Co-founders of ACC, Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab, commented, "We seek to shed the light on the film criticism through the Arab Cinema Center, honoring those film critics who promote for the Arab cinema by writing about it inside or outside the Arab world. With regard to Mohammed Rouda and Sydney Levine, they both have an incredible rich career. They have been tirelessly writing about hundreds of Arab films, which makes them among the most influencing within the Arab film industry."

Born in Beirut, Mohammed Rouda has been a film critic and a journalist for over 40 years‎ now. Before assuming his current position as Senior Editor/Film Critic at the pan-Arab daily Asharq ‎Alawsat, Rouda was a Festival Consultant and Associate Director of the Competition for the Dubai International Film Festival (2005-2008). Rouda also worked as a producer and presenter of film shows for Abu Dhabi TV, MBC TV, and Kuwait Television.‎ A prolific writer, he is the author and publisher of The Book of Cinema, an annual review of Arab and international films, and also Arab Cinema in the Sea of Changes. He wrote the original screenplay for the 2006 Saudi-financed Arab feature film WHAT'S UP (Keif al-hal?). Mohammed has been a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which gives out the Golden Globes), FIPRESCI and The London Film Circle.

Writer of popular blog Sydneys Buzz, Sydney Levine holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Southern California, a License from the Sorbonne University of Paris and a BFA from the University of California. In 1988, she started FilmFinders, the database of feature film projects that was adapted by the Cannes Marché to become Cinando.com. Sydney travels extensively on the international film market circuit as a hired panel moderator, educator, and consultant for filmmakers; the Cannes Film Market, the Berlinale’s European Film Market and Talent Campus, Deutsche Welle Akademie and others.

By presenting the Achievement Award for Film Critics, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) seeks to highlight the profession of film criticism by honoring one of the Arab or foreign film critics annually at the Cannes Film Festival. Over the past years, the ACC presented this award to Film Critic and Media Figure Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, Lebanese film critic Ibrahim Al Ariss, and American Film Critic Deborah Young.

Organized by MAD Solutions in 2015, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is 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.