Ajyal Film Festival 2023

Doha Tribecca Film Festival 2010

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

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Arab Film Competition: Best Arab Filmmaker

Balls (Farsan)

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

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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

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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

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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.

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