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Basil Khalil's AVE MARIA Wins Best Screenplay at Festival du Film Court de Grenoble, France

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Reaping the 3rd Award in Less than 2 Months

Basil Khalil's AVE MARIA Wins Best Screenplay at Festival du Film Court de Grenoble, France


Basil Khalil's short comedy film AVE MARIA won Best Screenplay Award at Festival du Film Court de Grenoble in France, landing the 3rd award in less than a month since its premiere. Continuing an extended festival tour worldwide this summer, the film will then have Italian premiere at Capalbio Cinema International Short Film Festival, Italy's most prestigious international festival for short films.

Grenoble is France's longest standing festival for short films and this year's edition boasted a line up of 44 films in the official competition.

Last month, AVE MARIA was awarded 1st place award in the HP Bridging The Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders, and received a Special Mention for Best Live Action Short Film at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, North America's largest short film festival.

The Nuns of the 'Sisters of Mercy' Convent, in the middle of the West Bank wilderness, have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of Jewish settlers come knocking at their door for help after crashing into the convent's wall.

The title of the film, "AVE MARIA", is Latin for "Hail Mary", an important Roman Catholic prayer. The film was written by Basil Khalil and Daniel Yáñez, and stars Maria Zreik, Huda Al Imam, Shady Srour, Ruth Farhi and Maya Koren. The film is produced by Incognito Films in Paris in collaboration with Flying Moon Film Produktion, with the support of Robert Bosch Stiftung Fund in Germany.

AVE MARIA has received wide critical acclaim in the international media. Following the screening at Palm Springs, Bruce Fessier wrote a piece about the film in The Desert Sun, saying "10 (out of 10) ... the funniest film I have seen in this festival." He also added that the film delivered the greatest religious message a film could send through the forced cooperation between the Jewish family and the Catholic nuns.

World renowned film writer Nina E. Rothe, who met Basil Khalil during the Cannes Film Festival, wrote an article about the film for the Huffington Post, in which she describes the film as a "charming, funny, beautifully made short film." She went on to say that Khalil opted for "choosing the human side of the struggle. When a very small group of Palestinian Carmelite nuns and a family of Jewish settlers "collide" together through a car crash outside the convent, they then need each others' cooperation to get away from one another as soon as possible."

AVE MARIA was part of Sydney Film Festival, Australia, where it had two full-house screenings alongside fellow Palestinian filmmaker Suha Arraf's Villa Touma. Breaking the festival's record for a weekday screening of an independent film, the turnout reached over 1,200 people, whose laughter and extended standing ovations reflected a strong admiration and engagement with the film.

Last May, AVE MARIA had its world premiere in the Short Film Competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

French broadcaster Canal+ has bought the French pay-TV rights exclusively. MAD Solutions is the film's distributor in the Arab world and Ouat Media, an Academy Award® winning sales company, is handling AVE MARIA's international distribution. Owned and operated by Channel Zero Inc, Ouat Media has contributed to the distribution of many short- and long award-winning films worldwide.