Sofia Djama

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Sofia Djama
Born1979 (age 41–42)
NationalityAlgerian
OccupationFilm director

Sofia Djama is an Algerian film director. Her 2017 feature film debut, The Blessed, won three awards at the Venice Film Festival, including the Brian Award, given to the film which "best champions human rights, democracy, pluralism and freedom of thought", and the Lina Mangiacapre Award for a film which "changes the image of women in the cinema".

Djama's second short film, Softly One Saturday Morning (Mollement, un samedi matin), won two prizes at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in 2012.[1]

Her 2017 feature film debut is The Blessed (Les bienheureux), a coming-of-age story set in Algiers in 2008, starring Sami Bouajila and Nadia Kaci.[2] The Blessed had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival,[2] and was one of only two films there from African directors, the other being the Franco-Tunisian Abdellatif Kechiche, with his film, Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno.[3]

The Blessed won three awards in the Orizzonti section (Horizons) section of the Venice Film Festival, with the Best Actress award going to Lyna Khoudri, the Brian Award, given to the film which "best champions human rights, democracy, pluralism and freedom of thought", and the Lina Mangiacapre Award for a film which "changes the image of women in the cinema".[3][4] International sales and French distribution rights have been acquired by Bac Films.[2]

Early life[edit]

Sofia Djama was born in 1979 in Oran, Algeria but grew up in Béjaïa, (formerly known as Bougie). In 1999, she moved to Algiers to carry out her studies in Foreign Language and Literature. She later decided to remain in Algiers after finishing her studies.[5]

She then worked in advertising and at the same time wrote short stories, which she would use a few years later to create her short film: Softly One Saturday Morning, the story of a rapist without an erection.[6]

Career[edit]

Softly One Saturday Morning was released in 2012 and it was met with positive reception. It won two awards at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the ACSE and the Best First Fictional Film.[7]   This film was also presented at the Malmö Arab Film Festival in Sweden, the Journées Cinématographiques in Algier and at other various short film festivals around the world.

In 2017, Djama released a full-length feature film, The Blessed. This film follows the lives of characters living in Algiers post-civil war. The film also shows a dilemma faced by many Algerians during this post-war period: whether to piece back together life in Algeria or to relocate to France in hopes to start fresh. Djama received two awards for this film at the Venice Film Festival. The first one, the Brian Award, is given to a film that defends the values of human rights, democracy, diversity and freedom of thought, without distinction for gender or sexual orientation. Djama was also awarded the Lina Mangiacapre Award, which is given to a film which changes the representation and image of women in cinema.[8]

In January 2018, Djama, with her film The Blessed, participated in the 19th Black Movie Festival in Geneva, Switzerland, where she received the Public Award.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In 2015, Djama supported a young woman who was denied access to University for a skirt that was deemed too short. She created a specific Facebook page : #My dignity is not decided by the length of my skirt. (#Ma Dignité n'est pas dans la longueur de ma jupe.)[10][11]

Djama identifies as an activist, and joined protests when she was fourteen years old.[12]

Regarding her relationship with Islam, Djama states “I’m agnostic, but I say that I am from the Arab-Muslim culture because I was steeped in that. I don’t reject my culture and my Arab-Muslim heritage”.[12]

Awards[edit]

Awards and Nominations[13][edit]

Year Award Film Category Result
2012 Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival Softly, One Saturday Morning Best First Film Won
ACSE Won
2013 Dresden Film Festival Best Short Fiction Film Nominated
2017 Venice Film Festival The Blessed Brian Award Won
Lina Mangiacapre Award Won
Orrizzonti Award Nominated
2018 Göteborg International Film Festival International Debut Award Nominated
Hamburg Film Festival Political Film Award Nominated
Lumiere Awards, France Best First Film Nominated
Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival Emerging Filmmaker Award Nominated
Seattle International Film Festival New Directors Competition Nominated

Filmography[edit]

  • Les 100 pas de Monsieur X (2012)
  • Softly One Saturday Morning (Mollement, un samedi matin) (2012)
  • The Blessed (Les bienheureux) (2017)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Day, Elizabeth (25 August 2012). "New Africa: the film-maker exploring feminism in Algeria". www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c Keslassy, Elsa (3 September 2017). "Bac Films Kicks Off Sales on Sofia Djama's Venice Title 'The Blessed'". variety.com. Retrieved 11 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Italy / Sofia Djama's "Les Bienheureux" wins awards at Venice - Méditerranée Audiovisuelle". mediterranee-audiovisuelle.com. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Collateral Awards of the 74th Venice Film Festival". labiennale.org. 9 September 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Sofia Djama – Arab Women in Films". Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  6. ^ "Sofia Djama". IMDb. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  7. ^ Mollement, un samedi matin - IMDb, retrieved 2021-04-07
  8. ^ Simon, Alissa; Simon, Alissa (2017-12-10). "Dubai: Arab World Women Directors Profile of Sofia Djama, 'The Blessed'". Variety. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  9. ^ "Black Movie". blackmovie.ch. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  10. ^ "Algerian women buzz social media with skirt protest". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  11. ^ Pittman, Taylor (2015-05-20). "How A 'Too-Short' Skirt Inspired A Leg-Baring Movement". HuffPost. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  12. ^ a b "SOFIA DJAMA AND THE MOVEMENT TO RETAKE ALGERIAN CINEMA". Revista Periferias. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  13. ^ "Sofia Djama". IMDb. Retrieved 2021-04-07.