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Cairo 2019

Industry Report: Europe and the Rest of the World

God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya wins the first Arab Critics’ Award for European Films


The joint initiative between European Film Promotion and the Arab Cinema Center, aiming to promote European cinema to the Arab world, handed out its award at the Cairo Film Festival

God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya wins the first Arab Critics’ Award for European Films
Producer and actress of God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya Labina Mitevska, with EFP's Sonja Heinen and ACC's Alaa Karkouti at the Cairo Film Festival (© EFP)

EFP (European Film Promotion) and the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) have presented the first Arab Critics' Award for European Films to God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya [+see also:
film review
interview: Labina Mitevska
interview: Teona Strugar Mitevska
film profile
by Teona Strugar Mitevska. 42 film critics from 13 Arab countries selected the best European film out of 24 nominations submitted by national film promotion institutions from throughout Europe.

During a festive event at the Cairo International Film Festival, Sonja Heinen, Alaa Karkouti, Maher Diab and festival director Mohamed Hefzy presented the Arab Critics' Award to Labina Mitevska, producer and one of the lead actresses of the winning film (and the director's sister). In a joint statement, the creative sisters thank the jury: "We come from a country, a region, a zone of in-between that has been turned into a state of in-between, always becoming, never defined. To us, winning this award means that we are actually the bridge, not a gap. This award shows that culture is universal and that cinema can speak across continents."

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The award aims to promote European cinema to the Arab world and raise the interest of distributors and industry players for outstanding European films, while at the same time putting a spotlight on the distinguished film critics from so many Arab countries and their important role in opening up new perspectives and bridging cultural idiosyncrasies. As part of its promotional advance into the Arab world, EFP also organised in cooperation with the festival a panel discussion on Strategies for Making Foreign-Language Films Less Foreign to Audiences centring on the following questions: What can we do to improve the situation for foreign-language films at the theatrical box office worldwide? What are sales agents, film festivals, national film promotion institutes, distributors and exhibitors doing to enhance the visibility of films outside their countries of origin? Can these stakeholders work better together? Is it a question of finding engaging new strategies or simply a matter of increasing the budgets for marketing and communication? Speakers on the panel moderated by EFP's Managing Director Sonja Heinen were Alaa Karkouti (MAD - Solutions), Daniel Ziskind (Film Clinic Production), Agathe Valentin (Totem Films), Verena von Stackelberg (Berlin International Film Festival selection commitee) and Labina Mitevska.

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