Slovak filmmaker Peter Kerekes’ “107 Mothers,” which premiered in Venice Film Festival’s Horizons section and was selected as the Slovak entry for the Best International Feature Film category of the 94th Academy Awards, has won the Arab Critics’ Award for European Films. The award was presented on Wednesday at the Cairo Film Festival, which runs as a physical event until Sunday.
Seventy one film critics from 15 Arab countries selected the best European film from 26 films nominated by the member organizations of European Film Promotion, which organizes the award alongside the Arab Cinema Center.
Kerekes, who accepted the award virtually, said he was happy that his film had even been nominated. “My grandmother always told me: ‘Peter, you have to be in good company.’ When I saw our film’s title in the selection among such beautiful and powerful films, I knew that I had fulfilled the dream of my grandmother. To receive the award was a big surprise and a big honor for me.”
Ola Al-Sheikh, manager of the award, said: “This year’s jury saw 26 European films that left us in total confusion because of their good quality and the closeness in the numbers of the votes. In the end, the award went to the remarkable film ‘107 Mothers.’ “
Based on a true story, the film centers on Ukrainian woman Lesya, who has just had her first child and been sentenced to seven years in prison for the murder of her husband. In prison, inmates are allowed to serve their sentence with their children until the kids are three years old.
“107 Mothers,” a co-production between Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, is the first fiction feature film by Kerekes, who made a name for himself as a director of documentaries, such as “66 Seasons,” “Cooking History” and “Velvet Terrorists.” “107 Mothers” was awarded the main prize at Germany’s FilmFestival Cottbus.