The Hearse to the Final House of Happiness triumphs at the Cinemed Meetings

The Hearse to the Final House of Happiness triumphs at the Cinemed Meetings

– Palestine’s Wisam Al Jafari wins the principal grant at the Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival, where Katia Saleh, Sarra Abidi, Amos Holzman and Saïd Zagha also scooped prizes

The Hearse to the Final House of Happiness triumphs at the Cinemed Meetings

The Cinemed Meetings’ awards ceremony (© Liza Bibikova/Cinemed)

After two days of pitches, the jury of the 33rd Development Grant Prize – awarded within the Cinemed Meetings, hosted by the 45th Cinemed – Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival – has handed its Grand Prize to The Hearse To The Final House Of Happiness by Palestinian director Wisam Al Jafari (whose last short film, Ambiance, competed in the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation competition). The story takes us to the city of Bethlehem where a family of hearse drivers are preparing for their daughter’s wedding. But on the eve of the wedding, Palestine’s political parties declare a general strike in response to Israeli hostilities, threatening to disrupt the celebrations. The bride’s sister, Lina, and her uncle who’s on temporary leave from a psychiatric hospital, try to deliver an artificial hymen to the bride-to-be ahead of her wedding night. However, the strike goads her to drive an injured, masked young man to the hospital, travelling in the opposite direction to the wedding and leading to its cancellation…

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Awarded by a jury composed of Catherine Bizern (Céci Moulin d’Andé), producers Marianne Dumoulin (JBA Production) and Dominique Welinski (DW, but also the manager of La Factory) and distributor Thomas Pibarot (formerly of Le Pacte), this development grant of 8,000 euros comes courtesy of the CNC. The winning film will also enjoy an extra 2,500 euros in post-production services, thanks to Titra Film.

The second grant (worth 4,000 euros, put forward by the Occitanie region, plus 3,500 euros in post-production services via French Kiss Studio and 2,500 euros via Saraband) was scooped by a French-Lebanese first feature film project: Katia Saleh’s black comedy You Only Die Once. The writing residency offered by Moulin d’Andé was split between two films, namely Le malentendu by Tunisia’s Sarra Abidi and Milah by Israel’s Amos Holzman, and Le malentendu also walked away with the Music & Cinema Prize (consisting of an invitation to the European Market for Musical Compositions for Film at the MCM – the Marseille International Music & Cinema Festival). Last but not least, a special prize (consisting of a consultation with Thomas Pibarot) was awarded to Weedestine by Palestinian director Saïd Zagha. The synopses for all the winning projects are available to view in our report.

Meanwhile, the jury of the 9th edition of the “Du court au long” initiative (open to filmmakers selected for Montpellier’s short film competition who also have a feature film project to put forward) granted two writing residencies overall: one courtesy of Méditalents, which went to Amara by Lebanon’s Michelle Keserwany, and the other from Moulin d’Andé, which went to The Naked Tourist by Spain’s Manuel Muñoz Rivas. Also worth a mention is the Casell’arte Prize (a writing residency in Corsica, courtesy of Fabbrica culturale Casell’arte) which was won by French director Salomé Da Souza’s project Mon sœur.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Development Grant Prize

Main Prize
The Hearse to the Final House of Happiness – Wisam Al Jafari (Palestine)
Production: Muayad Alayan and Aroub Hamed for PalCiné Productions

Second Prize
You Only Die Once – Katia Saleh (Lebanon/France)
Production: Nadine Naous for Batoota Films

Moulin d’Andé Film Writing Residency
Le malentendu – Sarra Abidi (Tunisia)
Production: Ibtissem Labidi for Synergy Production

Milah – Amos Holzman (Israel)
Production: Talia Bernstein

Special Prize
Weedestine – Saïd Zagha (Palestine/Jordan/Sweden)
Production: Myriam Sassine for Philistine Films
Co-Production: Linda Mutawi for Fikra

Music & Cinema Prize
Le malentendu – Sarra Abidi

“Du court au long” Initiative

Méditalents Writing Residency
Amara – Michelle Keserwany

Moulin d’Andé Film Writing Residency
The Naked Tourist – Manuel Muñoz Rivas

Casell’arte Prize
Mon sœur – Salomé Da Souza

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(Translated from French)

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