3 Film Clinic movies head to the Oscars

VERDICT: The films highlight Arab women’s roles and the challenges they face with regard to issues of identity, environment and personal freedom.

Three films produced and distributed by producer Mohamed Hefzy’s banner Film Clinic will represent Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon at the 2022 Oscars® in the International Feature Film category.

In Jordan, an independent committee of professional experts selected Amira to represent Jordan at the Oscars. The film is a co-production between Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, the UAE and Saudi Arabia and was entirely shot in Jordan. It is directed by Mohamed Diab.

Amira delves deep into the issue of identity and humanity through the eyes of a young girl searching for herself. Mohamed Diab’s brilliant filmmaking style grabs the audience’s attention. This is evident in the details of the inner struggles that the cast beautifully portrayed, especially Tara Abboud, Saba Mubarak and Ali Suliman. This film shows great audacity in filmmaking, in its finest forms,” said the independent committee in a statement.

Amira is the first Palestinian feature film by an Egyptian director. It follows Amira, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl, who was conceived with the smuggled sperm of her imprisoned father, Nawar. Although their relationship since birth has been restricted to prison visits, he remains her hero. His absence in her life is overcompensated with love and affection from those surrounding her. But when a failed attempt to conceive another child reveals Nawar’s infertility, Amira’s world turns upside down. The cast includes Saba Mubarak, Ali Suliman, and Tara Abboud, who lands her first cinematic leading role as Amira. They are joined by Kais Nashif and Waleed Zuaiter. The film was written by the trio Mohamed, Khaled, and Sherine Diab and edited by Ahmed Hafez.

In Egypt, a committee of experts and critics from the Cinema Professions Syndicate chose Souad by Ayten Amin to represent Egypt. After its world premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, Souad has been touring the world through the festival circuit, winning awards at the Mostra de València, Tribeca Film Festival and FESPACO.

The film follows the story of two teenage sisters who live in a delta city in Egypt. One of them is leading a virtual life, which she keeps as a secret from their conservative family. The film stars a number of acting talents cast from Egypt’s delta cities, and was shot in different locations outside of Cairo.

Souad is an Egyptian-Tunisian-German coproduction. It is co-written by director Ayten Amin and scriptwriter Mahmoud Ezzat in their second collaboration after Villa 69 (2013), winner of the Special Jury Award for a Film from the Arab World at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival where it world premiered. It was produced by Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic. The film is distributed in the Arab world by Film Clinic Indie Distribution.

Costa Brava, Lebanon by director Mounia Akl will represent Lebanon at the Oscars. The film stars director and actress Nadine Labaki and Palestinian star Saleh Bakri. It world premiered at Venice Film Festival and received awards at Toronto, London, Lisbon and El Gouna.

The film follows a couple who decided to escape the toxic pollution of Beirut by seeking refuge in an utopian mountain home. But unexpectedly, a garbage landfill is built right outside their fence, bringing all the trash and corruption they hoped to leave behind. This film is also distributed across the Arab world by Film Clinic Indie Distribution.