Made in Qatar
The Made in Qatar Award went to the short documentary ‘Bader’, by Sara Al-Saadi, Maaria Assami and Latifa Al-Darwish. A Special Mention went out to ‘Lyrics Revolt’ by Shannon Farhoud, Ashlene Ramadan, Melanie Fridgant and Rana Khaled Al Khatib.
Made in Qatar Award: Bader
Sara Al-Saadi, Maaria Assami, Latifa Al-Darwish / Qatar, United States of America, Syria / 2012 / Short Documentary
‘Bader’ is the story of a young boy trying to find his place in an all-boys’ elementary school. The documentary highlights the boy’s struggle with his identity, and how he comes to rely on poetry to help him overcome his challenges.
Made in Qatar Special Mention: Lyrics Revolt
Shannon Farhoud, Ashlene Ramadan, Melanie Fridgant, Rana Khaled Al Khatib / Qatar, Syria, Palestine, France, Lebanon / 2011 / Feature Documentary
As pro-democracy revolutions spread through the Arab world, one sound in particular is echoing the hopes, dreams and frustrations of its people: hip hop. ‘Lyrics Revolt’ captures leading Arab artists who employ the sharp political edge of hip hop during this game-changing time for the MENA region and beyond.
Arab Short Film Competition
A Development Award went to ‘Sanctity’ by Ahd, while the Award for Best Short Film was presented to ‘The Forgotten’ by Ehab Tarabieh. The jury also awarded a Special Mention to Nadim Tabet for his ‘A Day in 1959’.
Best Short Film: The Forgotten
Ehab Tarabieh / Syria, Qatar / 2012 / Short Narrative
Mustafa steals across the Israeli border with the help of a local smuggler. This is a one-way trip for Mustafa as he contemplates the end of his life. Forty-five years ago, he was forced from his home in the Golan Heights; his attempt to return is confounded by his inability to remember where he is going.
Development Award: Sanctity
Ahd / Saudi Arabia / 2012 / Short Narrative
Areej, a pregnant, young Saudi widow, will endure anything to protect her unborn child. A bold story about going against social customs, and trying to establish a friendship between men and women in a community that insists on gender segregation.
Special Mention: A Day in 1959
Nadim Tabet / Lebanon / 2012 / Short Narrative
Lebanon, 1959. An upper-class couple and their friend set out for a picnic by the river. En route, they pick up a daily worker and the unexpected events that follow challenge the comfortable sweetness of their lives.
Arab Film Competition: Documentary
Best Documentary Filmmaker went to Hanan Abdalla for ‘In the Shadow of a Man’, while Best Feature Documentary was taken by ‘The Lebanese Rocket Society’, by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. The jury awarded a special mention to Damien Ounouri, the promising director of ‘Fidaï’.
Best Documentary Filmmaker: In the Shadow of a Man
Hanan Abdalla / Egypt / 2011 / Feature Documentary
‘In the Shadow of a Man’ is a series of intimate conversations with four women from different cultural backgrounds and generations during the changes in Egypt surrounding the revolution and their quest to determine their own destinies.
Best Feature Documentary: The Lebanese Rocket Society
Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige / Lebanon, France, Qatar / 2012 / Feature Documentary
When filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige inadvertently discovered that their native Lebanon launched the first rocket in the Middle East in the 60s, and that the nation was immensely proud of its involvement in the international race to conquer the last frontier, they were surprised and intrigued.
Special Mention: Fidaï
Damien Ounouri / Algeria, France, United Kingdom, Kuwait, China, Qatar, Germany / 2012 / Feature Documentary
In Arabic, ‘fidaï’ means ‘one who dedicates his life to a cause’. This documentary looks at one such selfless fighter, whose actions during the Algerian War helped throw off more than a century of colonial rule.
Arab Film Competition: Narrative
Nadir Moknèche’s ‘Goodbye Morocco’ received a Special Mention and Best Performance was snagged by Ahmed El Hafiane for his role in ‘Professor’, by Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud. Nabil Ayouch was named Best Narrative Filmmaker for ‘Horses of God’, and the final award of the evening was taken by Merzak Allouache’s ‘The Repentant’, which took the honour for Best Narrative Film.
Best Narrative Film: ‘The Repentant
Merzak Allouache / Algeria, France / 2012 / Feature Narrative
Algerian director Merzak Allouache’s award-winning ‘The Repentant’ digs deep into Algeria’s ‘black decade’ for a close look at the lingering effects of extremism and the nation’s recent civil war. When the government enacts a law that provides amnesty to rebels who lay down their arms, Rashid, a jihadist fighter, leaves his hideout in the mountains, rejects violence and returns home.He gets a job at a café and begins to reintegrate into society, but when a pharmacist acquaintance asks Rashid to reveal secrets about his family, his life takes an unforgettable and emotional turn.
Best Narrative Filmmaker: Horses of God
Nabil Ayouch / Morocco / 2012 / Feature Narrative
nspired by the true story of a terrorist attack that took place in Casablanca in 2003, ‘God’s Horses’ is based on ‘The Stars of Sidi Moumen’ by Moroccan novelist and painter Mahi Binebine. The story follows two brothers who live in Sidi Moumen, a poor neighbourhood in Casablanca, over the course of a decade. In childhood, they seek out adventures and excitement, and have all the dreams of the future that come with youth.
Best Performance: Ahmed El Hafiane for his role in ‘Professor’
Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud / Tunisia, France, Qatar / 2012 / Feature Narrative
Deeply insightful about the human-rights situation in Tunisia in the 70s, ‘Professor’ is a dramatisation of the events surrounding a university law instructor’s involvement with the government of President Habib Bourguiba. Appointed by the ruling party to defend the official position of its League of Human Rights during a period of tension between the government and the unions, Khalil Kalsaoui is having an extra-marital affair with one of his students.
Special Mention: Goodbye Morocco
Nadir Moknèche / France, Belgium / 2012 / Feature Narrative
Dounia, a Moroccan woman, and Dimitri, her Spanish lover, are overseeing the building of a villa in Casablanca when the excavations uncover ancient Christian ruins beneath the worksite. Seduced by the promise of easy money, they decide to cash in on the find without informing the owner of the land. For Dounia, this windfall represents the solution to all her troubles – she wants to regain custody of her young son, leave Morocco and live happily ever after. When a tragic accident threatens her success, she abandons her scruples in her selfish attempt to remodel herself.