Sameh Alaa, winner of the 2020 short film Palme d’or © Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Closing of the “Cannes 2020 Special”: I’m Afraid to Forget Your Face wins the Palme d’or for Short Films

By hosting a three-day “Cannes 2020 Special” of screenings on the Croisette for Cannes general public to whom the Festival wished to send a sign of goodwill, the Festival de Cannes and the Mayor of Cannes set out to celebrate cinema in a city synonymous with this art form, showcase the global film industry’s creative dynamism in these challenging times and hold a cultural event at a time when the arts are needed more urgently than ever before.  

The awarding of the Palme d’or for Short Films on the Grand Théâtre Lumière stage last night marked the closing of the occasion.

Following the attack on the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice, a black carpet was rolled out instead of the customary red one with a minute’s silence observed at the beginning of the ceremony to pay tribute to the victims and in protest against terrorist attacks.

The Short Film jury made up of Damien Bonnard, Rachid Bouchareb, Claire Burger, Charles Gillibert, Dea Kulumbegashvili and Céline Sallette got up on stage where they were surrounded by the young filmmakers entered in the competition.

The film I AM AFRAID TO FORGET YOUR FACE directed by Sameh Alaa was named the unanimous winner of the Palme d’or.

In the wake of a new generation of compelling young Egyptian filmmakers featuring in the Official Selection in recent years, this is the first time an Egyptian film has won the Palme d’or for Short Films at the Festival de Cannes. Meanwhile, the film Souad by fellow Egyptian director Ayten Amin was also chosen for the Official Selection 2020.

The Palme d’or award ceremony was followed by a screening of Bruno Podalydès’ comedy Les Deux Alfred (French Tech) starring Sandrine Kiberlain and Denis Podalydès, with the film’s crew in attendance. In a Palais des Festivals filled to capacity, the film got a great reception, as did the three other feature films screened – Un Triomphe (The Big Hit) by Emmanuel Courcol, Asa ga Kuru (True Mothers) by Naomi Kawase and Dasatskisi (Beginning) by Dea Kulumbegashvili.

The Festival de Cannes was the first film festival to be impacted by the pandemic last spring. The “Cannes 2020 Special” held for Cannes general public took place just a few hours before the latest lockdown ordered by the French government began.

Flóra Anna Buda, 2023 Short Film Palme d'or with 27 © LOIC VENANCE / AFP
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