The film The Nile Hilton Incident, directed by Egyptian-Swedish Tarik Saleh, was awarded the prestigious prize Guldbaggen for best film of the year, while also scoring four additional awards during the esteemed Swedish gala.
In addition to best film, The Nile Hilton Incident also won the category of best actor for the performance of Fares Fares, best cinematography, best costume and best sound.
“Thanks to the jury because you understood that this was the best Swedish film of the year, despite it taking place in Cairo,” producer Kristina Åberg said at the awards.
“Incredible […] totally shocked,” director Tarik Saleh said.
The Nile Hilton Incident takes place in Cairo and is set against the backdrop of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. It features a police officer, played by Fares Fares, who investigates the murder of a woman that occurred in one of the rooms of the Nile Hilton hotel. What at first seems to be an ordinary murder case turns into a complicated drama that puts the spotlight on the intricate networks of power and corruption within which the Egyptian elite and police force operate.
“I think we’ve made a film that is about something that takes you to a place and a sequence of events, which I think when you see it, you suddenly understand something you perhaps hadn’t understood before about a part of the world that usually just flickers by in the news,” Saleh went on to say.
The film has had trouble being screened in Egypt since its release. Having been scheduled to screen at Cairo’s Zawya Cinema as part of the 10th Panorama of European Film lineup in October 2017, the venue canceled last minute, citing “involuntary circumstances”.
A few weeks later, Egyptian police prevented movie-goers from entering a venue that was scheduled to show it at an arts venue in Cairo’s Heliopolis. According to first-hand testimonies by Egyptian Streets, police personnel were stationed at the gate of the Balcon Heliopolis venue asking attendees for their identification cards while preventing some of them from entering. Shortly after, Balcon Heliopolis announced the cancellation of the screening and the event was deleted from their Facebook page.
Initially shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, The Nile Hilton Incident has been awarded The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize as well as the Grand Prix at the ninth Beaune International Thriller Film Festival in France, the festival’s most prestigious price.
The director initially wanted to shoot the film in Egypt, but after being denied a permit, it had to be shot in Morocco.
The annual Guldbaggen gala was first held in 1964 and is considered the Swedish equivalent of the Academy Awards.