Palestinian film-maker and Rolex protégée Annemarie Jacir had two reasons to rejoice at the recent Cannes Film Festival. As well as judging films as a jury member for the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, her new feature film, <em>Wajib</em>
was the stand-out winner at the Arab Cinema Center Critics Awards, presented on the last night of the festival.
Part of the official competition, Un Certain Regard presents films whose story is told in a non-traditional way. Jacir was one of the five jury members for 2018, alongside Benicio del Toro (Puerto Rican-American actor and President of
the jury), Virginie Ledoyen (French actress), Julie Huntsinger (American Executive Director of the Telluride Film Festival) and Russian director Kantemir Balagov.
Eighteen films were seen by the jury, with <em>Border</em> by director Ali Abassi winning the jury’s top prize. Jacir declared on Twitter that <em>Border</em> “took me on the most unexpected and beautiful journey”.
Her own debut feature, <em>Salt of this Sea</em>, premiered at Cannes in Un Certain Regard exactly 10 years ago.
<em>Wajib</em>, Jacir’s third feature film, a father-and-son road movie, won three awards at the 2018 Arab Cinema Center Critics Awards: Best Film, Best Actor for Mohammad Bakri and Best Screenplay. The Critics Awards,
established by the Arab Cinema Center, select the world’s best Arab films. <em>Wajib</em> has now won more than 20 international prizes.
Annemarie Jacir was protégée to Zhang Yimou in the Rolex Arts Initiative in 2010–2011.