The Cannes Film Festival has announced that Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania and Egyptian filmmaker Sameh Alaa will be part of the judging panel for the Short Films and the Cinefondation competitions at the 74th edition of the event running from July 16 to 17 this year.
Other jury members joining them at the event next month include Swedish filmmaker and actor Tuva Novotny, Spain’s Carlos Muguiro, French screenwriter Alice Winocour, and French actor Nicolas Pariser. Without a president, the jury now amounts to three men and three women, and having watched 3,739 short films, they will be awarding the Short Film Palme d’Or to one of 10 shortlisted films, from countries across the globe including Iran, Brazil, Denmark, China, Portugal, and, for the first time, Kosovo and Macedonia. The panel will also award three Cinefondation prizes to the best of 17 selected films from La Cinéfondation’s students. La Cinéfondation is a foundation backed by the Cannes Film Festival, creating complementary programs to inspire and support the next generation of international filmmakers.
International recognition for Ben Hania, who is also a member of the Tunisian Federation of Amateur Filmmakers, broke out in February when her film The Man Who Sold his Skin was a nominee for an Oscar award in the International Feature Film category. Starring actor Yahya Mahayni, the plot follows a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who agrees to have his back tattooed by a famous artist and promptly exhibited in a museum, realizing he has sold away more than just his skin.
Meanwhile, Alaa’s movie, I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face, was the first Egyptian movie to win the coveted Palme d’Or in the Cannes Film Festival’s short-film competition in October last year.
The narrative of a young man’s mission to embark on a journey of a lifetime in order to find his way back to his love has swooped significant awards so far, moving to Palm Springs International Shortfest next, where it will be up for the Best of the Festival Award and Young Cineastes Award.