Still from The President's Visit

Alumni Shortlisted for BAFTA Student Award

May 15, 2018

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is an independent institution that supports Film and TV projects. It also hosts one of the world’s most important awards.


The President's Visit, written & directed by Cyril Aris '17, co-written by Mounia Akl '17 and produced by Valerie Castillo Martinez '16, was shortlisted for a BAFTA Student Film Award.


This award takes under consideration submissions by film schools from all over the world, in an effort to promote diversity: “Film schools worldwide were invited to submit up to nine films for consideration for four top prizes – the BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation, the BAFTA Student Film Award for Documentary, the BAFTA Student Film Award for Live Action Film, and the Special Jury Prize, selected by the event’s panel members.”


The President’s Visit was awarded The National Board of Review Student Grant in 2017, and it was part of The Faculty Selects at the Columbia University Film Festival. It also premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to much critical acclaim.


Synopsis: When a small coastal town of fishermen learns about the secret visit of the President of the Republic to its local soap shop, they embark in an everlasting struggle at cleaning up and maintaining the perfect image of their town.


The director, Cyril Aris is a writer and director from Beirut. He wanted to make a comedy to underline the current political climate: “It is that bittersweet pain of caring too much for a country we call home that drove the story of The President’s Visit, set in our political deadlock, where the Presidential seat had been vacant for over two years. This absurdity is something you cry at, play with… and eventually laugh at.”


Mounia Akl, the co-writer, is the accomplished filmmaker behind Submarine, a short film that tells the story of a girl from Beirut, a city that is dealing with an ongoing garbage crisis. The film has been lauded internationally; it was selected for the highly competitive Cinefondation Competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. It was also an official selection at the Toronto International film Festival, and it will screen this month at the Underexposed Film Festival and the Nashville Film Festival.


The BAFTA Gala ceremony will take place Friday, June 29 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.