Firas Khoury presents his first feature film

I have tried as much as possible to be faithful to the new generation in Palestine.

Palestinian filmmaker Firas Khoury quickly won international recognition for his work thanks to a series of striking short films depicting his country and its day-to-day problems. With Alam, released in France at the end of August, he makes his move into feature films. Supported by Aide aux cinémas du monde, this impactful, poetic film has been warmly received at festivals around the world. 

Published on 13/09/2023

5 min

A Palestinian film-maker born in 1982, Firas Khoury obtained a degree in film studies before embarking on his creative career. In 2005, he directed the first of several short films, including Islamic (2005), Two Arabs (2006), Hit Man (2006), Seven Days in Deir Bulus (2007) and Yellow Mums (2010). These early efforts earned him recognition from the industry, with several festival awards and television broadcasts. At the same time, he became involved in the distribution of Palestinian films and teaching film studies courses. 

In 2019, his short film, Maradona's Legs, was screened in Palm Springs before winning 45 international festival awards and being added to Netflix on 15 October 2021. Two years later, his first feature film, Alam, had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Screened at the Cairo International Film Festival, it won the Best Feature Film Award, the Audience Award and the Best Actor Award. It also won the Young Jury Prize at the Cinemamed in Brussels. Firas Khoury is also a founding member of the Falastinema group, which organises workshops and screenings across Palestine. 

In Alam, his first feature film, which has won awards at festivals and acclaim from critics, Firas Khoury depicts his own political awakening, which he experienced at a late age. Through the story of Tamer, a young Palestinian living in Israel, he tells of his involvement in a demonstration on the eve of Israeli Independence Day. The director chose to work with non-professional actors, despite difficulties finding the right performers during a process that took several years. He says he wanted, at all costs, to remain faithful to the new generation in Palestine and his desire to reflect the symbol of a situation and status of the population. 

In his short films, Firas Khoury was inspired by Hollywood cinema, based on a classic narrative and mainstream genres. With Alam, he wanted to retain this simplicity while telling the story of a boy who wants to get closer to a young girl. From this starting point, the filmmaker chose to depict a political reality that serves as a trigger for a generation fighting for its rights. 

Since the start of his career, Firas Khoury has won numerous awards for his films and gained genuine international recognition. In 2019, Maradona's Legs toured the world and won dozens of awards. For Alam, released in France on 30 August, Firas Khoury received funding from Aide aux Cinémas du Monde. 

To date, the film has won the Best Fiction Feature Film at the International Education Film Festival in France. It also won the Golden Pyramid at the Cairo International Film Festival, first prize in the international competition, best actor for Mahmood Bakri and the audience prize. 

  • 2005


    Firas Khoury directs his first short film, Islamic.

  • 2006


    He creates his second short, Two Arabs.

  • 2019


    His short Maradona's Legs tours the world and wins dozens of awards.

  • 2023


    His first feature film, Alam, is released in France, after winning numerous international awards.

L'institut français, LAB