The Arab Cinema Center Reveals Its Latest Activities at a Press Conference at the Dubai International Film Festival

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Including the 2nd Annual Critics Awards and the Arab Personality of the Year Award

The Arab Cinema Center Reveals Its Latest Activities at a Press Conference at the Dubai International Film Festival

As part of its third consecutive time at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) has revealed details on the 2nd Annual Critics Awards at a press conference that was held on Saturday, December 9. For the first time in the Arab cinema history, the Critics Awards brings together the most prominent Arab and foreign critics to join its jury committee aiming to work together to select 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. The awards ceremony will be held during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2018.

During the press conference, Film Analyst Alaa Karkouti, Managing Partner of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) and CEO of MAD Solutions, presented the ACC's achievements since its launch in 2015, in addition to its upcoming plans for 2018 that includes attending more than 20 international film festivals and markets with an aim to promote Arab cinema.

As part of its 2018 plans, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is going to select Arab producers to attend the Rotterdam Lab that is held on the sidelines of the International Film Festival Rotterdam - IFFR in Netherlands (January 24 - February 4, 2018). Moreover, the ACC opened call for applications to Arab film projects for the MAFF - Málaga Film Festival Fund & Co-production Event and Málaga Work In Progress that are held within the Málaga Film Festival in Spain (April 13-22, 2018). In cooperation with The Hollywood Reporter, the ACC is going to present the Arab Personality of the Year Award.

The 1st Critics Awards was held within the 70th Cannes Film Festival. The awards are given to the best Arab film productions every year in the following categories: Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Writer, Best Actress, and Best Actor, in addition to the new category, the Best Documentary Film. For the first time in the Arab cinema history, the jury committee brings together 54 of the most prominent Arab and international critics from 26 countries from all over the world. Egyptian Film Critic Ahmed Shawky is appointed as Manager of the Critics Awards. The final list of the 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 2017, 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 to that the films must be feature-length films (fiction or documentary).

Winners of the 1st Critics Awards:
Best Actor: Majd Mastoura | Hedi | Tunisia
Best Actress: Heba Ali | Withered Green | Egypt
Best Screenplay: Clash | Khaled Diab and Mohamed Diab | Egypt
Best Director: Mohamed Diab | Clash | Egypt
Best Feature Film: In the Last Days of the City | Egypt, UAE

Organized by MAD Solutions in 2015, the Arab Cinema Center (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 Center's activities vary between film market main wings, introduction and networking sessions for 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 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.

Since the beginning of 2017, the ACC has made 22 stops at international festivals and markets. The festivals attended are the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR), Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), Beirut Cinema Platform (BCP) held within the Beirut Cinema Days, Istanbul Film Festival, Tripoli Film Festival, the 34th WIPO SCCR in Geneva, Cannes Film Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Eurasia International Film Festival, Festival del film Locarno, Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Film and Television Careers Connection (FTCC), San Sebastian International Film Festival, Malmo Arab Film Festival, Cape Town International Film Market & Festival (CTIFMF), Days of Cinema in Palestine, MedFilm Festival in Italy, LatinArab Co-Production Forum, Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Arab Cinema Week in New York and the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).
The 1st Critics Awards jury committee included Egyptian film critic Samir Farid and Palestinian film critic Bashar Ibrahim, who passed away in early 2017 after they have contributed to the selection of films and filmmakers nominated for this year's awards.

List of critics of the 1st Critics' Awards (in alphabetical order):

Abdul Sattar Naji | Kuwait, Ahmed Shawky | Egypt , Deborah Young | USA, Dragan Rubesa | Croatia, Erfan Rashid | Iraq, Italy, Finn Halligan | UK , Hamadi Keroum | Morocco, Hauvick Habéchian | Lebanon, Houda Ibrahim | Lebanon, France , Hussam Assi | Palestine, UK, Ibrahim Al-Arees | Lebanon, Jay Weissberg | USA , Kais Kassem | Iraq, Sweden, Khalil Demmon | Morocco, Mohammed Bougalleb | Tunisia, Mohammed Rouda | Lebanon, Nabil Hadji | Algeria , Nadim Jarjoura | Lebanon, Ola Al-Sheikh | Palestine, UAE, Olivier Barlet | France, Osama Abd El-Fatah | Egypt, Sydney Levine | USA, Tarek El-Shinnawi | Egypt and Ziad Khouzaie | Iraq, UK.

List of critics appointed for nominating and selecting the winners of the Critics Awards this year:

Abdelkarim Qadri | Algeria, Ali Wajeeh | Syria, Alin TAŞÇIYAN | Turkey, Amber Wilkinson | UK, Ásgeir H Ingólfsson | Iceland, Carmen Gray | New Zealand, Giona A. Nazzaro | Switzerland, Harri Römpötti | Finland, Hassan Haddad | Bahrain, Hassouna Mansouri | Tunisia, Jim Quilty | Canada/ Lebanon, Kadhum El Saloum | Iraq, Kaleem Aftab | UK, Khaled Mahmoud | Egypt, Khalid Ali | Sudan/UK, Kiva Reardon | Canada, Magdy Eltayeb | Egypt, Mohamed Atef | Egypt, Nageh Hassan | Jordan, Pamela Biénzobas | Chile/France, Safaa Abusadeer | Iraq, UK, Ramy Abdel Razek | Egypt, Mahmoud Mahdi | Egypt, Rasha Hosny | Egypt, Ola Shafey | Egypt, Youssef Cherif Rizkallah | Egypt, Mohamed Hashem | Egypt, Emad El Nouwairy | Kuwait, Mohamed Benaziz | Morocco and Abdelkarim Ouakrim | Morocco.