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9th DIFF draws to a Triumphant Close with glittering Awards Ceremony

Sun Dec 16,2012

Dubai, December 16th, 2012: The final credits have rolled on the 158 films screened during the 9th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and last night’s prestigious Muhr Awards ceremony formed a climactic finale for the Festival.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival which screened films from 60 countries across 43 languages saw visitors from around the world converge on the Emirate, now looks towards its decennial anniversary.

Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF Chairman, said: “After months of curation, preparation and coordination across multiple stakeholders, industry experts and the Dubai community, DIFF has delivered a true spectacle of cinematic diversity and a showcase of unbridled talent. In the past eight days we have not only screened 158 films but offered networking platforms to over 1,700 industry professionals, showcased 330 films in our Filmmart (60% increase versus 200 last year), hosted 24 forums and workshop for the filmmakers of the future, awarded thousands of dollars to worthy filmmakers and welcomed a host of International and Regional talent to Dubai.– we consistently strive to raise the standard of cultural events in the region and align ourselves alongside International peers.

Juma added, “My heartfelt thanks go to the unwavering support from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum - UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the commitment of our esteemed sponsors, especially the investment corporation of Dubai, and our founding sponsors along with the dedication of our 760 volunteers and all who make the Festival what it is today. Tonight’s Muhr Awards capped off a stellar ninth season and this success really sets the stage for the amazing programme we will have in store for the Festivals monumental 10th edition in 2013.”

Over the duration of the Festival film professionals from five continents converged for DIFF’s industry events—DIFF’s comprehensive script-to-screen industry initiative, the Dubai Film Market, paired directors and producers from the region with international funding bodies and distributors, and numerous networking and matchmaking events took place throughout the festival’s eight days with.

Earlier, DIFF honoured industry stalwarts Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, the veteran Egyptian actor, and renowned British director Michael Apted, with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The DIFF Young Journalist Award were also presented during the festival to Jerusha Sequeira.

As one of the most lucrative filmmaker competitions in the world, the Muhr Awards were established in 2006 to honour filmmakers from the Arab world, and were expanded to include the AsiaAfrica competition in 2007. The programme has grown from strength to strength, with thousands of entrants competing to be finalists for the coveted Muhr Emirati, Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica Awards. This year an impressive 83 films competed for over USD600,000 in prize money.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director, said: “It is thrilling to see the Muhr programmes begin to generate return entrants. This is the kind of passion and dedication that the awards were instituted to support. Moreover, many of the past Muhr entries went on to enormous success around the world, and we are confident that this year’s lineup will continue to make waves at international festivals well into 2013. The field this year was incredibly strong, and our juries had a very difficult time selecting the finalists. We at DIFF are proud to announce this year’s winners and look forward to following their illustrious careers for years to come.”

The 2012 Muhr prize winners are:

Due to the overwhelming response from the voting public DIFF faced a situation which never before occurred in the history of DIFF - a two way tie for the Dubai Expo 2020 People’s Choice award:
• Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar - ERNEST ET CELESTINE (ERNEST AND CELESTINE): France
• Karzan Kader - BEKAS: Sweden

The annual ‘Prize of the International Critics’ for Arab films from the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), the world’s foremost body of film writers, academics and critics from over 60 countries, were awarded to:
• Best Documentary: Khaled Jarrar - MUTASALILUN (INFILTRATORS): Palestine, UAE
• Best Short: Amr Abdelhadi - HOMMA AAILIYA (FAMILIAL FEVER): Jordan
• Best Feature: Djamila Sahraoui – YEMA: Algeria, France, UAE

Muhr Emirati:
• Best Director: Abdulla Aljunaibi and Humaid Alawadi - THE PATH: UAE
• Special Jury Prize: Muna Al Ali – DURBEEN: UAE
• Best Film: Juma Al Sahli - RAAS AL GHANAM (THE GOAT’S HEAD): UAE

Muhr Asia Africa Shorts:
• Best Director: Nargiza Mamatkulova - ZHYMZHYRT (SILENCE): Kyrgyzstan
• Special Jury Prize: Taalay Kulmendeiev - ZHYMZHYRT (SILENCE): Kyrgyzstan
• Best Film: L. Rezan Yeşilbaş - SESSIZ-BE DENG (SILENT):Turkey

Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary:
• Special Mention: Sourav Sarangi - CHAR… THE NO-MAN’S ISLAND: India
• Special Mention: Mosco Kamwendo - CAMARADA PRESIDENTE (COMRADE PRESIDENT): Zimbabwe
• Best Director: Wang Bing - SAN ZIMEI (SAN ZIMEI – THREE SISTERS): France, Hong Kong
• Special Jury Prize: Mohsen Amiryoussefi, Pirooz Kalantari - KAHRIZAK, CHAHAR NEGAH (KAHRIZAK, FOUR VIEWS): Iran
• Best Film: Nishtha Jain, Torstein Grude, Signe Bryge Sorenson - GULABI GANG: India, Norway, Denmark

Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature:
• Special Mention: TELEVISION - Bangladesh
• Best Actress: Aida El-Kashef - SHIP OF THESEUS: India
• Best Actor: Engin Günaydın - YERALTI (INSIDE): Turkey
• Best Director: Kim Ki-duk –PIETA: South Korea
• Special Jury Prize: Nicholas Bruckman - VALLEY OF SAINT: India
• Best Film: Zeki Demirkubuz - YERALTI (INSIDE): Turkey

Muhr Arab Shorts:
• Best Director: Fyzal Boulifa - THE CURSE: UK
• Special Jury Prize: Ghassan Kairouz - KHALFI SHAJAR ALZAYTOUN (BEHIND ME OLIVE TREES): Lebanon
• Best Film: Murray Bartlett - NOOR: Egypt, USA

Muhr Arab Documentary:
• Special Mention: Farah Kassem - Abi Youchbeh Abdel Nasser (MY FATHER LOOKS LIKE ABDEL NASSER) - Lebanon
• Best Director: Hinde Boujemaa -YA MAN AACH (IT WAS BETTER TOMORROW): Tunis
• Special Jury Prize: Mohanad Yaqubi, Sami Said - MUTASALILUN (INFILTRATORS): Palestine, UAE
• Best Film: Khaled Kaissar - SCHILDKRÖTENWUT (THE TURTLE’S RAGE): Germany

Muhr Arab Feature:
• Special Mention: Alexandra Kahwagi - her role in ROUND TRIP - Syria, UAE, Germany, France, Egypt
• Best Actress: Waad Mohammed - WADJDA - Germany, Saudi Arabia, UAE
• Best Actor: Amr Waked - EL SHEITA ELLI FAT (WINTER OF DISCONTENT) - Egypt
• Best Director: Kamal El Mahouti - MON FRÈRE (MY BROTHER) - France, Morocco
• Special Jury Prize: Dina Farouk - HARAG W’ MARAG (CHAOS, DISORDER) - Egypt
• Best Film: Roman Paul, Gerhard Meixner - WADJDA: Germany, Saudi Arabia, UAE

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