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This Syrian Film Just Took Home the 2019 Sundance Film Festival’s Shorts Grand Jury Prize

Making the region proud, the creators of dark comedy Aziza went home with Sundance Film Festival’s shorts Grand Jury Prize, standing out in a hefty selection of 73 shorts amongst almost 10,000 submissions.

The story of Aziza brilliantly finds the light in the darkness by portraying a darkly humorous recreation of the lives of Syrian refugees, shedding light on their hardships in a vividly unconventional way. It tells the story of a husband and wife, who’ve lost everything and simply want to cherish what they have remaining. The husband then begins to teach his wife how to drive, worrying about the laws of the road that aren’t strict to begin with, creating a dark irony that adds to the humor of the piece. The film is set in a dark Lebanon, centering around the two refugees who long for nothing more than a bit of normalcy. Coming from a director who had to leave her hometown of Damascus due to the war, the film certainly comes from the heart.

But this isn’t the first time the Syrian director Soudade Kaadan made history. Her previous film, The Day I Lost My Shadow (Yom Adaatou Zouli) was the first-ever Syrian film to screen in competition at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. It even won the Lion of the Future award for best debut film.

With all of this and more to boast, even participating in other festivals such as TIFF, Busan, BFI and IFFR, we are certain that Kaadan is reaching for the stars.

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