Basil Khalil, a Palestinian-British filmmaker, won the Fipresci Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) for his debut feature, A Gaza Weekend, which had its world premiere at the festival.
In a recorded acceptance speech, Khalil said, “Oh wow. This is huge. Thank you, FIPRESCI people, whoever you are. I love you.”
According to Khalil, who offered the idea for the movie to a producer while lying on a Cannes beach, “This film is only here by mistake.” In his video and his Director’s Statement to the press, the filmmaker, what began as a pitch he made up to impress a producer at a Cannes networking event, evolved into a humorous, satirical examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Khalil’s previous short film, Ave Maria — a comedy about a meeting between Catholic nuns in the West Bank and a group of Israeli settlers — was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film in 2016.
The award-winning director also made several documentaries, including a few about Palestine.
The Foreign Federation of Film Critics bestowed the FIPRESCI prize, which five international critics chose: Andrea Crozzoli (Italy), Márcio Sallem (Brazil), Max Borg (Switzerland), Andrew Kendall (Guyana), and Marriska Fernandes (Canada).
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