Soudade Kaadan’s Syrian drama NEZOUH received the Best Feature Film Award at the 10th Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth — which took place from October 22nd to the 28th in the city of Sharjah, UAE — after headlining the festival’s Green Carpet segment.
Recently released commercially in Egypt and Qatar, NEZOUH takes place during the Syrian conflict, where a missile destroys the ceiling of the house of 14-year-old Zeina. As a result, she sleeps for the first time under the stars and makes friends with Amer — the boy next door.
When the violence escalates, Hala — Zeina’s mother — decides to leave. She then gets into an argument with her husband, Motaz, who refuses to become a refugee and tries everything to stop his family from leaving their house.
Written and directed by Soudade Kaadan — who also co-produced it with Yu-Fai Suen — the film stars renowned Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, Samir Al-Masri, Hala Zein, and Nizar Alani and is produced by Berkeley Media Group Limited, KAF Production, and Agat Films & Cie, with worldwide distribution rights going to MK2 Films and Arab world sales handled by MAD Solutions.
NEZOH also recently screened at the Cairo Film Days, where it witnessed a huge audience turnout after participating in more than 20 film festivals, including the Tripoli, Amman, and Annaba Mediterranean film festivals, and the Panorama of Maghreb and Middle Eastern Cinema as well.
Before that, the film enjoyed a successful world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival — where it snagged an Orizzonti Extra Audience Award and became the first Arab film to win the award, as well as grabbing the Lanterna Magica Award from the Cinecircoli Giovanili Socioculturali.
It also featured at Mostra de València – Cinema Del Mediterrani, Girls on Film Awards, Madrid Films by Women, the Official Competition of the International Film Festival of India, and the Red Sea International Film Festival — where it held its Arab world premiere.
So far, the film has several impressive achievements under its belt, including winning the Amnesty International Award at the MedFilm Festival in Morocco and being nominated for Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival along with Best Effects and Best Lead Performance for Hala Zein at the British Independent Film Awards.
Born in France, Soudade Kaadan is a Syrian director who studied theater criticism at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts and graduated from the Institut des Etudes Scénique, Audiovisuelles, et Cinématographiques (IESAV) of Saint Joseph University in Lebanon.
Her first feature film, THE DAY I LOST MY SHADOW, won the Lion of the Future Award at the Orizzonti Competition of the Venice Film Festival and the Jury Prize at the LA Festival. Also, her short film AZIZA won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2019.