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Two Middle Eastern films win the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival

Photo credit : Filmmaker Oualid Mouaness' film "1982".

Held annually in September in the province of Ontario, Canada, the Toronto International Film Festival is a non-competitive film festival that awards prizes each year among the 400 films presented. This year, two Arab films managed to make their mark.

This year, two films from the Middle East were awarded prizes at the Toronto International Film Festival, held from September 5 to 15. Filmmaker Oualid Mouaness’ film “1982” received the Netpac Prize, the prestigious award from the Network for the Promotion of Pacific Asian Cinema, while Oscar-nominated director Fayyad’s “The Cave” won the Grolsch Documentary Public Choice Award. 

The Arab film industry, the big winner of 2019

Shot in a private school on the outskirts of Beirut, the film “1982” tells the story of Wissam, an 11-year-old boy, who has feelings for his classmate Joanna. But before he could confess his feelings, Beirut was torn apart by airstrikes and everything suddenly changed. Replenishing the audience during the invasion of Lebanon, “1982” features Lebanese actress and filmmaker Nadine Labaki and actor Mohammed Dalli.

 

 

For its part, “The Cave”, which takes place in Syria, tells the story of a team of female doctors who treat victims in an underground hospital while fighting systematic sexism. Filmed between 2016 and 2018, “The Cave” is a revealing drama of the current Syrian crisis and will certainly compete for the next Oscars.

After the Cannes Film Festival last May and the Venice Film Festival in early September, which honored films from the Arab world, the Arab film industry seems determined to make its mark on the international scene.