'Costa Brava, Lebanon', the directorial debut of Mounia Akl stars Lebanese director Nadine Labaki and Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri.
Lebanese director Mounia Akl has won the Netpac award at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival for her debut feature Costa Brava, Lebanon.
“Costa Brava, Lebanon – an intergenerational family story – is an ode to sustainable futures by visionary new talent, Mounia Akl from her precious and troubled country,” said the Netpac jury’s statement.
“Thank you so much Toronto for this award. It really means a lot to me and the team. I just came back from Toronto and the screening was so magical; the audience was so alive and receptive and I left really moved. I really feel Toronto has been so kind to me and my work so it really meant a lot to me to be there again,” Akl said in a recorded video message.
Costa Brava is co-written by Akl and Spanish filmmaker Clara Roquet (El Adios) and has Bakri and Labaki playing a couple who leave Beirut in the hope of living a pollution-free life in the mountains. This utopian existence is destroyed, however, when the government decrees that a landfill be built right next to their new home, bringing the city’s rubbish right to their doorstep. Suddenly, the Badri family face being torn apart as tensions rise in their household.
On-screen, Akl, who divides her time between Lebanon and New York, is already famed for starring in the TV series Beirut, I Love You, which she co-created and co-directed. She has also helmed a number of shorts, including the 2016 effort Submarine, also set around Lebanon’s waste crisis.
The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.
The Netpac award is an annual award presented by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema to the best film from Asia that has premiered at Tiff.