| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

Cannes Film Festival 2021: Arab filmmakers Kaouther Ben Hania and Sameh Alaa join the short film jury

Tunisian filmmaker Kaouthar Ben Hania  and Egyptian director Sameh Alaa will be part of the jury for short films and the Cinefondation competition for Cannes Film Festival 2021, which will take place next month.

The jury is made up of three women and three men, with no president, and they will be awarding the Short Film Palme d’Or to one of the 10 shortlisted projects, as well as the three Cinefondation prizes to the best of the 17 selected films from the school’s students.

Other jury members include Spanish filmmaker and teacher Carlos Muguiro, Swedish director, writer and actress Tiva Novotny, plus Nicolas Pariser and Alice Winocour, both writers and directors from France.

For this year’s festival, which will run from Friday to Saturday, July 16 to 17, the selection committee viewed a total of 3,739 short films, with 10 shortlisted from Brazil, Denmark, China, France, Hong Kong, Iran, Portugal and, for the first time, Kosovo and Macedonia.

The 14-minute Iran entry is called Orthodontics, by Mohammadreza Mayghani.

Ben Hania made international headlines earlier this year when her film The Man Who Sold his Skin was nominated for an Oscar competing in the International Feature Film category, but ultimately losing out to Another Round  from Denmark.

The Man Who Sold His Skin, which stars Yahya Mahayni, follows the story of a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, who agrees to have his back tattooed by a famous artist in the hopes of joining his partner in Paris.

The story is inspired by real-life events, Ben Hania told The National last year. In 2006, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye tattooed the back of Tim Steiner, a former studio owner from Zurich. The living artwork was sold to a collector and Steiner agreed to have his back skinned after his death, so the owner could hang the piece.

“The original work of art was just a starting point,” said Ben Hania. “Many movies start with an image, then you have to have a story with an emotional journey.”

Alaa last year scooped the top prize Cannes, with I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face, which won the Best Short Film Palme D’Or.

  • The National News