Choice titles from the MENA in the running for European Film Awards

Among them, the Iranian serial killer story 'Holy Spider', Palestinian helmer Maha Haj's 'Mediterranean Fever' and Tarik Saleh's 'Boy from Heaven'.
Choice titles from the MENA in the running for European Film Awards

The European Film Academy Board –- consulted by a diverse range of European invited experts –- has chosen 30 films to be part of the Academy's Feature Film Selection 2022. The Feature Film Selection part 1 includes films that the Board of the Academy recommends to all Academy members for a nomination for the European Film Awards 2022. In a second part, 10-15 further titles for the Feature Film Selection will be announced in September.

Eligible for the European Film Awards are European feature films which, among other criteria, had their first official screening between 1 June 2021 and 31 May 2022 and have a European director -- though exceptions can be made by the Board should a film director not be European “provided they have a European refugee or similar status or have lived in Europe and worked in the European film industry for at least five consecutive years.”

Among the titles making the first cut are the Palestinian/French/German co-production Mediterranean Fever directed by Maha Haj; Iranian helmer Ali Abbasi's Holy Spider (pictured above), which found its locations in Jordan since filming in Iran would have been impossible, due to its delicate subject; and Boy from Heaven by Tarik Saleh, a Swedish/French/Finnish production, filmed in Turkey substituting for Egypt, for much the same reasons as the previous film mentioned.

The first selection also includes some other European cinema favorites like Kenneth Branagh's autobiographic Oscar-winning Belfast -- (eight-time nominee Branagh finally won his first Oscar, for Original Screenplay for the film) -- Terence Davies' Benediction, Pedro Almodóvar's Parallel Mothers and Ruben Östlund's Triangle of Sadness.

With the announcement of the Feature Film Selection, the first step in the three-stage awarding procedure is completed. In the coming weeks, the 4,400 members of the European Film Academy will start to watch the selected films and after the final announcement of all films vote on the nominations in the feature film categories European Film, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenwriter as well as for the nominations in the category European Documentary. Based on the votes of the participating members, the nominations will be made public on 8 November 2022.

The members of the European Film Academy will then vote for the winners who will be announced at the European Film Awards ceremony in Reykjavík on 10 December 2022.

Additionally to the voting, the selected films will be considered for the Excellence Awards in the categories European Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Make-up & Hair, Original Score, Sound and Visual Effects which will be determined by an eight-member jury consisting of representatives of the different arts and crafts. There will be no nominations in these categories.

The Academy Selection is deemed among the most excellent that European cinema has to offer and represents every year the very best of European cinema. With 27 European countries -- both EU and non-EU -- represented, the list of selected films once again illustrates the great variety in cinema throughout Europe.

The European Film Awards, honoring the greatest achievements in European cinema, will be presented on 10 December in Reykjavík, Iceland.

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