Samira Al-Khalil Association Award Ceremony 2023

The Samira Al-Khalil Association organized its award ceremony 2023 at the Cinema L'Ecran in Saint-Denis, a suburb of Paris, on Saturday 11 March, in the presence of a large French, Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian audience.

For its first edition, the prize was awarded to the Syrian director Reem Al-Ghazi, "in recognition of her cinematographic work, the courage of her artistic approaches, her influence on society, and her commitment to narrate the memory of the invisible Syrians”.

The winning director was unable to come to Paris due to complications related to her refugee papers and asked her colleague Rudi Othman to receive the award on her behalf.

The Algerian director Habiba Djahnine also received a special mention from the jury for "her pledge to human rights and her passion, through her art, for the transmission of the culture of justice and peace to new generations”.

The award ceremony was moderated by Nadia Leila Aissaoui, a French-Algerian feminist researcher and one of the founders of the Samira Al-Khalil Association.

It began with musical arrangements dear to Samira, prepared by Abboud Kayali, then a short film directed by Guevara Nemer in her honor. Two speeches were given by the master of ceremony and by Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, who spoke about his experience of writing about Samira and to her in her absence. It was his desire to keep her present in other ways than writing that prompted him to create the association. In thanking all those who contributed to the foundation of the association and its prize as well as the public present, he underlined how much friendship was the most precious of values. He finally greeted the Algerian poetess, writer and translator Souad Labbize and the two publishing houses (Les lisières and iXe) which published the book of letters to Samira and her diary written during the siege of the Ghouta of Damascus.

The president of the association, Noemie Eckert, and its executive director, Clarie Alspector, gave an overview of the prize, attesting to the high quality and diversity of the works proposed by the candidates of this first edition dedicated to cinema.

The ceremony ended with the screening of the latest film by the winner Reem Al-Ghazzi, "Becoming Iphigenia”.

It should finally be noted that the jury of the Samira Al-Khalil Award, chaired by the Syrian journalist and director Waad Al-Khatib, was composed of the Lebanese-Palestinian writer and director Carol Mansour, the Lebanese artist and director Ali Cherri, the Tunisian professor of French literature and cinema Insaf Machta and Nadia Leila Aissaoui.