Sallam has become the first Jordanian filmmaker to be awarded an Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
The debut feature of Jordanian writer-director Darin J. Sallam’s Farha won the ‘Best Youth Film’ award at the 15th Asia Pacific Screen Awards held in Australia.
The term, which translates to calamity, signifies a time between 1947 and 1949 when more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed and more than 700,000 people were displaced forcibly.
Inspired by true events, Farha tells the story of 14-year-old Farha, who is locked up in a small room as war erupts in Palestine in 1948. Alone in her abandoned village, she undergoes a life-turning experience, as her dream changes from getting an education to surviving.
The cast includes Ashraf Barhoum, Ali Suliman, Sameera Asir, Firas Taybeh, Majd Eid and emerging young actress Karam Taher. The film, which is mostly led by women, is produced by Deema Azar and Ayah Jardaneh of TaleBox in Jordan, and co-produced by Laika Film & Television and Chimney in Sweden.
Farha has had a successful festival tour in more than 40 festivals so far, where its world premiere was at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2021. The film has won the Best Euro-Mediterranean Film dealing with Women Issues/ EU Award, Best Director Award and Best Actress Award at the Aswan International Film Festival 2022. It also received a Special Mention Award at the Red Sea International Film Festival in 2021. It had its Jordanian premiere at the third edition of the Amman International Film Festival – Awal Film in July 2022, in the presence of the cast and crew. The movie was theatrically released in Jordanian cinemas last August.
In this year’s edition, films from 17 Asia Pacific countries and areas have celebrated APSA wins, with historic first-ever APSA wins for filmmakers from Jordan, Armenia, Cambodia and Pakistan.
Aurora’s Sunrise (Armenia, Germany, Lithuania), the story of a forgotten genocide survivor turned silent Hollywood film star and philanthropist has won the 15th APSA for Best Animated Film and marks the first APSA win for an Armenian film.
Niklas Lindschau won the APSA for Best Cinematography for The Stranger (Al Garib, Palestine, Syrian Arab Republic, Qatar, Germany).