ALAM and UNDER THE FIG TREES — two hits from MAD Solutions’ distribution slate — managed to bag a couple of awards during the Swedish Malmö Arab Film Festival’s closing ceremony on May 4th, with the former winning the Best Director Award, which the director was in attendance to receive, and the latter earning a Special Mention.
Firas Khoury’s ALAM follows Tamer and his friends as they lead typical teenage lives until one day he is swept off his feet by the arrival of the beautiful Maysaa. As he grows closer to her, Tamer agrees to take part in a mysterious and life-changing operation dubbed ‘Alam.’
The film is written and directed by Khoury and stars Mahmood Bakri, Sereen Khass, Saleh Bakri, Mohammad Karaki, Ahmad Zaghmouri, and Muhammad Abed Elrahman.
Previously, ALAM Arab world premiered at the 2022 Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), succeeding with flying colors and taking home three awards at the festival’s closing, those being the Golden Pyramid Award — the festival's top accolade for outstanding films in the international competition — the Best Actor Award for Palestinian actor Mahmood Bakri, and Youssef Cherif Rizkallah's Audience Award.
The movie then held its world premiere at the 47th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival's Contemporary World Cinema Category and featured at the Rome Film Festival.
After that, it won the Young Jury Award at the Brussels’ Cinemamed Festival and the Best Asian Film Award at the 27th International Film Festival of Kerala — where the director Firas Khoury also received the Rajata Chakoram for Best Debut Director — and the Best Debut Feature Film Award at the Tetouan Mediterranean Film Festival.
ALAM was also featured in the Festival Favorites Category of the 2022 edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Meanwhile, Erige Sehiri’s UNDER THE FIG TREES is set in the shade of trees, where a strong bond flourishes between the young summer harvest workers. Between flirting, feelings of attraction, and denial, a deep connection develops between the young men and women as they try to understand one another.
The film is directed by Sehiri and co-written by Ghalya Lacroix and Peggy Hamann. It stars Fide Fdhili, Feten Fdhili, Ameni Fdhili, Samar Sifi and Abdelhak Mrabti. Additionally, Amine Bouhafa composed the film's music, and Frida Marzouk served as its DOP.
Aside from this award, the film has so far won the 2023 Best Actor and Best Actress awards at the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, EcoProd Jury Award at the 2022 Cannes International Film Festival, Silver Tanit Award at the 2022 Carthage Film Festival, the Grand prize at Festival International du Film Francophone de Tübingen-Stuttgart, and was Tunisia's official submission in the 2023 Oscars for Best International Feature Film.