Winning Its First Award in Film Festivals Following the World Premiere
Villa 69 Wins the Special Jury Award for a Film from the Arab World at Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Director Ayten Amin's Villa 69 has won the Special Jury Award for a Film from the Arab World at the 7th Abu Dhabi Film Festival within New Horizons Competition. The Emirati film event will close on November 2nd, 2013.
The jury's prize is of $25000 and the panel has noted that the film deserved the prize "because it depicts a contemporary Egyptian family that goes through a crisis from a different perspective full of love and tolerance".
The prize comes as the first in the film's awards record following its world premiere within the framework of the festival on October 29th, 2013. Co-scripted by Mohamed Al Hajj and Mahmoud Ezzat, the film is Ayten Amin's feature directorial debut. Villa 69 stars Khaled Abol Naga, Arwa Gouda and Egyptian veteran actress Lebleba whose support to the young cast of the film drew the attention of media outlets. The film is co-produced by Film Clinic and Wael Omar's Middle West Films.
The film follows Hussein, a man living in isolation in his house. Characters from his past begin to invade his solitary lifestyle; his life witnesses drastic changes following the encounter with his sister and nephew, Seif. As a result, gradual and yet radical changes in his dogmatic view of life begin to emerge.
Ayten Amin was the recipient of the Cairo Film Connection Prize within the frame work of Cairo International Film Festival in 2010 for her film Villa 69. The project has also won a development fund prize from Hubert Bals Fund and was part of the official selection in Pavilion des Cinemas Du Monde, Cannes Film Festival 2011.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Ayten studied Film Criticism in 2001. In 2005, she presented two shorts about Madiha Kamel and belly dancing. Ayten studied Cinema independently in Art Lab, the American University in Cairo (AUC). While at the AUC's Art lab, she produced her controversial short, Her Man, which was screened in 10 international film festivals including Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival 2007, and was exclusively screened on the French Canal Plus in 2007 and 2008.
Ayten worked as Assistant Director in Bassra and On a Day Like Today before she made her short Spring 89, that was part of five international festivals including the Short Film Corner, Cannes Film Festival in 2011. The film garnered several awards including Best Short Fiction and the Special Jury Prize for the screenplay at the Alexandria Film Festival. The film also received a Special Mention at the Dubai International Film Festival and was selected as part of an educational program in New York University, Abu Dhabi in 2011.
In the same year, 2011, Ayten co-directed Tahrir 2011: the Good, the Bad and the Politician. The film was as an official selection at Venice International Film Festival, out of competition, and won the CICT-IFTC award. Tahrir 2011 participated in several film festivals and was officially selected to be part of Toronto International Film Festival. The film was nominated for best document in Cinema for Peace award at Berlin International Film Festival 2012.