Presented for its world premiere at the Villa Medicis Film Festival, LE CHAMP DES MOTS by Rania Stephan, artist in residence at Iméra (2021-22), has won the Villa Médicis Prize for Best Film.

Rania Stephan wins the Villa Médicis Prize for Best Film. Photo credit: Villa Médicis

The Villa Medicis Film Festival: an international competition

The festival highlights 14 films presented in competition, of all lengths and genres (documentary, fiction, essay), produced in 2021-2022 by artists and filmmakers whose works stand out for their singularity of purpose or form. Screenings of the films in competition take place during the day, in the presence of the directors, in the Michel Piccoli cinema and in the Grand Salon of the Villa Medicis.


On September 17, 2022, the awards ceremony for the international competition of the Villa Medicis Film Festival took place.

The jury, composed of filmmaker and curator Marie Losier, filmmaker Pietro Marcello, and writer Sylvain Prudhomme, awarded the prize for Best Film to Rania Stephan for her film LE CHAMP DES MOTS.

Filmed over nine years, this cinematic dialogue between exiled Syrian writer Samar Yazbek and Lebanese filmmaker Rania Stephan attempts to ask vital questions about cinema and literature in the face of war, death, and violence. Focused on the relationship between speech, literary text, and the act of listening, the film explores the writer’s work with her own tools: words. As the war intensifies, the dilemma increases: to speak or not to speak becomes a central question in the film. But if the filmed conversations are interrupted, who will tell the story of the voiceless? A relevant poetic and political testimony of our troubled times.

Trailer for Rania Stephan’s film LE CHAMP DES MOTS, resident research fellow at Iméra (2021-22)

About the Filmmaker Rania Stephan

Rania Stephan was born in Beirut and studied film at LaTrobe University in Australia and Paris VIII in France.

Her films combine work on the archaeology of the image, identity, and memory, navigating between video art and creative documentary. Her most recent works, anchored in the turbulent reality of her country, offer a personal perspective on complex and violent political events. Mixing raw documentary footage with a poetic approach, chance encounters are filmed with humor and compassion.

Her first research residency at Iméra, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Aix-Marseille University (between February and July 2022), focused on science fiction in literature, cinema, and contemporary visual arts from Arab countries around the Mediterranean. Learn more.