Arab Film Competition: Best Arab Film
Directed and written by Ibrahim El Batout. (Egypt, Qatar) – Feature Narrative
A prisoner is released on a mission to retrieve a set of documents. A man roams the city streets towing his sickly horse behind him. A group of songwriters gathers to compose. In this portrait of modern Alexandria, themes of human loss and displacement take center stage in place of a clearly defined story arc.
Cast: Hanan Youssef, Sherif El Dessouki, Mohamed El Sayed, Fady Iskandar, Rina Aref, Massar Egbary Band
Arab Film Competition: Best Arab Filmmaker
Directed by Josef Fares, screenwriters Josef Fares, Torkel Petersson. (Sweden) – Feature Narrative
Middle Eastern earthiness meets Scandinavian sweetness in this comedy by acclaimed Lebanese-Swedish director Josef Fares, whose half-dozen films over the past decade have been international festival favorites. In his latest cinematic culture clash, Fares features his actual father as a lonely widower slowly making his way back onto the dating scene, with amusing, endearing results.
Cast: Torkel Petersson, Jan Fares, Hamadi Khemiri, Juan Rodriguez, Anita Wall, Nina Zanjani, Jessica Forsberg
Audience Award: Best Documentary
Grandma, A Thousand Times (Teta, Alf Marra)
Directed by Mahmoud Kaabour. (UAE, Qatar, Lebanon) – Feature Documentary
This personal documentary puts a feisty Beiruti grandmother at the center of brave film exercises designed to commemorate her many worlds. With great intimacy, the film documents her larger-than-life character as she struggles to cope with the silence of her once-buzzing house and imagines what awaits her beyond death.
Featuring: Teta Fatima Kaabour
Audience Award: Best Narrative
The First Grader
Directed by Justin Chadwick, screenwriter Ann Peacock. (U.K.) – Feature Narrative
The inspirational story about an elderly farmer in a Kenyan village who wants to enroll in a local school and learn to read, this charming film features an outstanding performance by Naomie Harris as a skeptical teacher as well as Oliver Litondo as the octogenarian student.
Cast: Naomie Harris, Oliver Musila Litondo
Best Arab Short Film
Missing (Khaberni Ya Taer)
Directed by Sirwar Zirkly. (Syria) - Short Narrative
A TV show called "Missing" is tasked with finding a viewer’s sister, but when she is discovered the brother kills her live on the air. This Arabic drama with English subtitles packs a strong message in little more than 16 minutes.