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AVE MARIA Shortlisted For the Best Short Film Award at the 41st Cesar Film Awards Ceremony

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After Winning the Best Screenplay Award at the Tangier International Film Festival

AVE MARIA Shortlisted For the Best Short Film Award at the 41st Cesar Film Awards Ceremony

After winning 25 awards at more than 130 international film festivals, and being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Film, Basil Khalil's AVE MARIA has been shortlisted for the Best Short Film Award in the 2017 Cesar Film Awards in France. The list of which includes 24 films, and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony that will be taking place on Friday, February 24, 2017.

The first round of voting will last from the 2nd to the 24th of January, 2017 to decide on the five films that are going to be nominated for the Cesar Best Short Film Award. The nominated five films will be announced at a press conference held on Wednesday, 25 January, 2017.

Offered by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma, the César Award is the national film award of France and was first awarded in 1976. The award ceremony is held annually at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on the last Friday of February. The César Award is considered the French film industry's equivalent of the Academy Award in the United States.

AVE MARIA is a 14-minute comedy that tells the story of an order of Palestinian nuns living in the middle of the West Bank wilderness. Their daily routine of silence and prayer is disrupted when a family of Israeli settlers breaks down right outside their convent, just as the Sabbath is beginning. The family need to get home but can't operate the phone, and the Nuns have taken a vow of silence.

AVE MARIA has won 25 awards at many international film festivals, the last of which was the Best Script Award for a short film award at the Tangier International Film Festival. The film has taken part in more than 130 international festivals so far and is expected to be screened at 20 more festivals in 2016. AVE MARIA was nominated for an Oscar® for Live Action Short Film, and had its world premiere in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015. With its theatrical release in over 400 screens in the USA and Europe part of the 2016 Oscar® nominated short films program, Basil Khalil's Palestinian short film AVE MARIA generated more than $2.8 million in revenues from the USA alone. AVE MARIA was the first short film, alongside Jordanian Naji Abu Nowar's film Theeb, to be well-received by theaters when it had its commercial release in the Arab world.