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Full House Screenings for AVE MARIA at Sydney Film Festival

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Before Heading to the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival

Full House Screenings for AVE MARIA at Sydney Film Festival

Following its successful official selection at Cannes Film Festival last month, where the film received its world premiere, Palestinian short film AVE MARIA by Basil Khalil continues to steal the lime light in international festivals. Through its participation at Sydney Film Festival, Australia, the film had two full house screenings with the attendance of over 1200 people whose strong admiration and engagement with the film was reflected in their laughter and long ovations. The film's overbooked screenings break the festival record for an independent film.

AVE MARIA has been selected for the Palm Springs International Short Films Festival in California, USA (16 - 22 June), North America's largest short film festival. The film will screen on Sunday June 21st as part of To Life section.

AVE MARIA participated in the Short Film Competition within Cannes Film Festival and recently, French broadcaster Canal+ has bought the French pay-TV rights exclusively. MAD Solutions is the film's distributor in the Arab world and OUAT Media, a global media distribution specialist, based in Toronto, Canada, is handling AVE MARIA's international distribution. Owned and operated by Channel Zero Inc, Ouat Media has contributed to the distribution of many short- and long award-winning films worldwide.

The 14-minute film tells the story of the nuns of the 'Sisters of Mercy' convent in the middle of the West Bank wilderness, whose daily routine of silence and prayer is disrupted when a family of religious Israeli settlers crash their car into the convent's wall. The Sabbath is approaching and they need to get home urgently, however, because of the Sabbath laws, the Israelis can't operate a phone to call for assistance, and the Nuns have taken a vow of silence. Together they have to come up with an unorthodox plan to help them get home.

"AVE MARIA" the title of the film is taken from an ancient prayer in Latin which means "Hail Mary". Starring Maria Zreik, Huda Al Imam, Shady Srour, Ruth Farhi and Maya Koren, the film is written by Basil Khalil in collaboration with Daniel Yanez.

Basil Khalil was born and raised in Nazareth, to a Palestinian father and an English-Irish mother. He studied for an MA in Screen Project Development at Screen Academy Scotland then moved to London to work in Television productions. In 2011 Basil was selected by SCREEN International as one of "top 10 Arab filmmakers to watch". Basil directed several films such as the documentary Replay Revenge (2006) and the short film Ping Pong Revenge (2005) and is currently developing his first feature film.

The film is produced by Incognito Films in Paris in collaboration with Flying Moon Filmproduktion, with the support of Robert Bosch Stiftung Fund in Germany.

Incognito Films was first established by Eric Dupont, who's been working in the film industry for over 15 years. He worked at Fildebroc, a Paris-based film production company, running their development slate. In his partnership with producer Michelle de Broca, they have produced films directed by Cannes Festival contender Rolf de Heer and Oscar-nominated Dominique Deruddere. Eric also worked for the London-based talent and literary agency Hamilton Hodell. Composed of a range of genres and budgets, Incognito Films' current development slate features art-house features and new indie movies from American and European cult directors and international co-producers.

Screening Schedule of AVE MARIA

Palm Springs International Short Films Festival GMT -8:

Sunday, 21st of June at 03:00 pm in Camelot Theatres