News

5th Gulf Film Festival concludes with award ceremony honouring best in regional cinema and international shorts

Mon Apr 16,2012

• His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presents filmmakers with prizes worth over half a million dirhams
• 155 films from 40 nations, Courant’s Cinematon vignettes and ‘Cherries of Kiarostami’ screened at week-long festival
• Jury members impressed by originality of works and quality of films
• Inaugural Gulf Script Market for Short Films applauded by film professionals

Dubai, UAE; April 16, 2012: The fifth Gulf Film Festival, the largest of its kind showcase of films from the Arabian peninsula and trend-setting international shorts, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, concluded on Monday evening with the award ceremony honouring the best in filmmaking talent in the region and around the world.

His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented the awards to the winners of GFF’s Official Gulf Features, Official Gulf Shorts, Official Gulf Students Shorts and International Shorts competitions. More than half a million dirhams in prizes and prestigious awards were distributed at the ceremony, attended by Arab and Gulf film celebrities and distinguished guests.

The winners at GFF 2012 are:

New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi Aspiring Filmmaker Award:
Eman Al Suwaidi
Aisha Abdullah

Official Gulf Student Shorts Competition:
Best Emerging Talent Fatema Abdulla Al Nayeh
For RITHATH AL HAYAT (LIFE SPRAY)
UAE

Best Director Melak Abd Ali Mnahi
For CASSETTE
Iraq

Third Prize DHAHIRAT AL QAMBOA’A (THE GAMBOO3A REVOLUTION)
Produced by: Abdulrahman Al Madani, Saeed Alemadi, Saeed Salmin
Directed by: Abdulrahman Al Madani
UAE

Second Prize SABR ALMELH (PATIENCE SALT)
Produced & Directed by: Mohammed Ebrahim Mohammed
Bahrain

Special Jury Prize SMILE AGAIN
Produced & Directed by: Hashim Al Efari
Iraq

Best Short Film EN LET BRISE (A LIGHT BREEZE)
Produced & Directed by: Rania M. Tawfik
Denmark

Official International Shorts Competition:
Best Director Ülo Pikkov
For KEHA MALU (BODY MEMORY)
Estonia

Second Prize A FÁBRICA (THE FACTORY)
Produced by: Antonio Junior
Directed by: Alysson Muritiba
Brazil

Special Jury Prize AL HESAB (PAYBACK)
Produced by: Hala Galal
Directed by: Omar Khaled
Egypt

Best Short Film SEDAYE BARAN (THE SOUND OF RAIN)
Produced & Directed by: Jalal Saedpanah
Iran

Official Gulf Shorts Competition:
Special Mention LAMHA (GLIMPSE)
Directed by: Nayla Al Khaja
UAE

Special Mention AL ARABANA (CART)
Directed by: Hadi Mahood
Iraq

Special Mention Sogha
For her role in: JANNAT RAHMA (RAHMA’S HEAVEN)
Directed by: Hani AlShaibani
UAE

Best Script Rezgar Hussein
For PAYSIKL (BICYCLE)
Iraq

Best Director Dana Al Mojil
For BILAD AL AJAEB – KISSA WAQAE’A (WONDERLAND ‘A TRUE STORY’)
Kuwait

Third Prize HUNA LONDON (THIS IS LONDON)
Produced & Directed by: Mohammed BuAli
Bahrain, UAE

Second Prize ASWAR KHAFIYA (HIDDEN FENCES)
Produced & Directed by: Samer Alnamri
Yemen

Special Jury Prize BILAD AL AJAEB – KISSA WAQAE’A (WONDERLAND ‘A TRUE STORY’)
Produced & Directed by: Dana Al Mojil
Kuwait

Best Short Film PAYSIKL (BICYCLE)
Produced by: Fekri Baroshi
Directed by: Rezgar Hussein
Iraq

Official Gulf Feature Competition:
Special Mention Kais Nashef For his role in TORA BORA
Kuwait

Best Director Akram Hidou
For HALABJA – THE LOST CHILDREN
Germany, Iraq, Syria

Third Prize MAN YEK MOZDORE SEFID HASTAM (I AM A WHITE MERCENARY)
Produced by: Hossein Houmayonfar
Directed by: Taha Karimi
Iraq

Second Prize AMAL
Produced & Directed by: Nujoom Al Ghanem
UAE

Special Jury Prize TORA BORA
Produced & Directed by: Walid Al Awadi
Kuwait

Best Feature Film For HALABJA – THE LOST CHILDREN
Produced & Directed by: Akram Hidou
Germany, Iraq, Syria


At the closing ceremony, a special recognition was given to the veteran Kuwaiti actor Saad Al Faraj. The twin juries of the festival were also honoured. The Official Gulf Competition jury comprised: Iraqi theatre director Jawad Al Assadi, Saudi Arabian filmmaker Abdullah Al-Eyaf and UAE media personality, theatre director and author Jamal Matar. The International Shorts Competition and the Gulf Student Competition jury comprised Tampere Film Festival Finland Director Jukka-Pekka Laakso, Emirati filmmaker and writer Jamal Salim, and Egyptian film critic Essam Zakarea.

Commenting on the Official Gulf competitions, jury member Jamal Matar said: “There has been impressive participation from across the Gulf region. Compared with the past years, there has been a strong improvement in the quality of the movies and the scripts. We would like to see stronger participation in the coming years, and greater diversity in themes.”

On the International Shorts, jury member Jamal Salem said that the films were distinguished by the different themes they tackled. “The filmmakers took simple subjects and explored how these have a wider effect on the society. These short films were indeed thought-provoking and had the power to touch the audience.” He said that the Gulf Students shorts were chiefly graduation projects, which limited the range of topics and subjects that were tackled.

One of the highlights of GFF 2012 was the strong response to its inaugural Gulf Script Market for Short Films. From about 100 script submissions, 14 projects were selected with the writers offered the opportunity to work with top-notch film professionals over a three-day mentoring session. The polished scripts were then pitched to producers and directors. Coupled with GFF’s Enjaaz programme, extending production funding of up to US$50,000, the Festival offered a solid sounding board to promote regional filmmaking.

The selection of films and mentoring were by Egyptian director and scriptwriter Mohamed Khan; award-winning Lebanese director, scriptwriter and film entrepreneur Michel Kammoun; and Bahraini author and scriptwriter Fareed Ramadan.

Khan observed the Gulf Script Market for Short Films was the most distinguishing factor of the festival this year. “Through this initiative, we are providing an opportunity for youngsters to express themselves through the art of cinema.”

In another significant initiative, the festival also announced the launch of the Robert Bosch Stiftung awards for three co-production prizes for joint short film productions by young German and Arab filmmakers in the animated film, documentary and short film categories.

Over the week-long festival, over 155 films from 40 nations were screened for free to the public, recording strong audience turnout. Additionally, 153 vignettes crafted by avant-garde French filmmaker Gerard Courant, including 134 of the four-minute personal sketches of UAE residents and GFF guests that are now part of the world’s longest movie, Cinematon, were screened. GFF 2012 also screened 39 films in the ‘Cherries of Kiarostami’ programme, which resulted from a 10-day master-class conducted by world-renowned Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami at the festival last year.

The Investment Corporation of Dubai is the presenting sponsor of the Gulf Film Festival; Emirates airline is its official carrier. GFF is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and held in association with Dubai Studio City.  More details and updates on the festival are available online at www.gulffilmfest.com or at www.facebook.com/gulffilmfestival, www.youtube.com/gulffilmfestor @gulffilmfest on Twitter.
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