26 January 2023:
Firas Khoury's award-winning feature film ALAM is set to be featured at the ninth edition of the UAE's Reel Palestine Film Festival, which will be held in Cinema Akil from January 27th to February 5th.
The six-time-award-winning ALAM will have three special screenings during the festival, with attendance restricted only to those with invitations.
The first screening is set for Sunday, January 29th at 7 pm, followed by a Q&A with director Firas Khoury; the second screening is scheduled for Monday, January 30th at 7 pm; and the last screening is set for Sunday, February 5th at 4:30 pm.
Reel Palestine is an annual film festival in the UAE that brings films in the artistic form of independent and alternative cinema to be played at both Abu Dhabi's Warehouse421 and Cinema Akil — an independent cinema platform that brings excellent films from across the world to audiences in the UAE.
Written and directed by Firas Khoury, ALAM — starring Mahmood Bakri, Sereen Khass, Saleh Bakri, Mohammad Karaki, Ahmad Zaghmouri, and Muhammad Abed Elrahman— follows the story of a Palestinian teenager named Tamer.
Tamer and his friends 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.’
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.
Moreover, 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.
ALAM was also featured in the Festival Favorites Category of the 2022 edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Previously, the movie held its world premiere at the 47th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival's Contemporary World Cinema Category. It was then featured at the Rome Film Festival.
The film garnered worldwide acclaim, with Variety's Alissa Simon saying: "Khoury’s convincing and engaging screenplay perfectly captures teenage fearlessness and bravado, along with a certain cluelessness about how the real world works." Meanwhile, Screen Daily’s Fionnuala Halligan described it as "a coming-of-age drama which hews to the conventions, Alam nonetheless offers a fresh perspective."
ALAM is co-distributed by MAD Solutions and Lagoonie Film Production across the Arab world.
Additionally, the flick received a grant from the Doha Film Institute and a $20,000 script development grant from the Abu Dhabi Film Festival's SANAD Fund. It was also chosen to participate in the Cinéfondation Workshop at the 2017 edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
Furthermore, the film was featured at the 2019 Venice GAP-Financing Market and received a $10,000 grant from Cairo Film Connection — the CIFF's Co-Production Market — and was featured at the Atlas Workshops of the Marrakech International Film Festival.
Firas Khoury's filmography includes several short films, including the award-winning SEVEN DAYS IN DEIR BULUS (2007) and YELLOW MUMS (2010), which were featured in festivals around the world and on TV.
In 2019, he directed MARADONA'S LEGS — a short film that received the Robert Bosch Stiftung Film Prize, as well as Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg's support. It was also screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and began airing on Netflix in October 2021.