It is considered to be one of the most significant awards within the global film industry and Alaa made history with this win as he became the first Egyptian filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or, but it was also the first time in history that an Egyptian submission had been nominated for it.
Sameh Alaa’s “I Am Afraid To Forget Your Face” won the prestigious award with a unanimous vote by the Short Film jury, which featured some of the most prominent names in French cinema. The film was first selected from 3,180 submissions, from which 11, including Sameh’s, were nominated, and eventually went on to win.
When Waad Al Kateab walked the #Oscars red carpet, she wore a dress with a powerful statement written in the same color of the plant she left behind in Aleppo before being displaced.https://t.co/5mUPHgDr26— About Her (@AboutHerOFCL) February 14, 2020
The 15 minute long Egyptian film is about a man who is having a challenging time as he tries to return to his girlfriend from who he has been separated from for some time. “I Am Afraid To Forget Your Face” was the only Arab film to be nominated for the award, and stars Nourhan Ali Abdelaziz and Seif Eldin Hemida. Speaking about his nomination, Sameh Alaa said, “It was a big surprise, but a good surprise. It was totally unexpected because, for a long time, we didn’t know if the festival was going to happen, even after we got shortlisted.”
After it was announced that Alaa had won the award, Cannes Film Festival congratulated the Arab filmmaker on Instagram with the caption, “Tonight he won the short-film Palme d’Or 2020. Congratulations to Egyptian director Sameh Alaa.”
This year, the film festival, which was set to happen in May, took place digitally over 3 days in October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.