Fri Dec 13,2013

The hotly anticipated Muhr Awards ceremony marked the near-culmination of a banner year for the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF)—the festival’s tenth edition, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The awards were presented by His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to dozens of the Arab world’s best filmmakers in the Muhr Arab categories as well as their counterparts from Asia and Africa, comprising the most competitive and diverse competition since the inception of the awards in 2006 (Arab) and 2007 (AsiaAfrica). Both first-time directors and cinema legends such as Syrian director Mohamed Malas and Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Khan entered new films this year, beating hundreds of other entrants to be shortlisted.

Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF Chairman, reflected on the landmark decennial edition: “The sense of community this year was palpable. After ten years, we are seeing recurrent visitors, both film professionals and cinema lovers, from the region and beyond. This year we celebrated the gains that have been made in Arab cinema in the past decade, the result of years of work from our team to discover, nurture and promote talent from the Arab world.”

“There is a feeling that Arab cinema has ‘arrived,’ with increasing numbers of Arab films on the world stage, winning awards at the most prestigious festivals, and gaining currency even with audiences who have never visited the region. The Muhr Awards represents a strong community of artistic peers who are working together in a common project of celebrating and elevating the standard of cinema in emerging markets, and it is remarkable for DIFF to be at the centre of that phenomenon.”

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director, said: “The international film professionals we host at DIFF, all of whom can boast of long and distinguished careers, are continuously impressed by the inventiveness and originality of the films we feature here. Most of our filmmakers operate outside the Hollywood and Bollywood systems, which means that they are free to experiment and take creative risks. We at DIFF are grateful to be able to support these artists financially so that they continue to show the world what they can do.”

The 2013 winners are:

Emirates NBD People’s Choice Award:
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee for FROZEN – USA
Amal Al-Agroobi for THE BRAIN THAT SINGS - UAE

FIPRESCI Short: Ahmed Yassin for ATFAL ALLAH (CHILDREN OF GOD) - Iraq, UK, Hungary
FIPRESCI Documentary: Zeina Daccache for SCHEHERAZADE’S DIARY - Lebanon
FIPRESCI Feature: Mohammed Khan for FATAT EL MASNAA (FACTORY GIRL) - Egypt, UAE

Muhr Emirati:
Special Mention: Mohammad Fikree for GIRL & IT - UAE
Best Director: Muna Al Ali for CONCEALMENT - UAE
Special Jury Prize: Claudia Corbelli and Greg White for AL JAARA (THE NEIGHBOUR) - UAE
Best Film: Abdullah Hasan Ahmed and Khalid Al Mahmood for LA TKHALEENY (DON’T LEAVE ME) - UAE

Muhr AsiaAfrica:
Muhr AsiaAfrica Short:
Special Mention: Cédric Ido for TWAAGA - Burkina Faso, France
Best Director: Sandeep Ray for SHIRNO BAHU (THIN ARMS) - India
Special Jury Prize: Halla Kim for THE WAY BACK - South Korea
Best Film: Askhat Kuchinchirekov for BENZIN BITTI (GAS IS OVER) - Kazakhstan

Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary:
Special Mention: Lynn Lee and James Leong for WUKAN: MINZU ZHI GUANG (WUKAN: THE FLAME OF DEMOCRACY) - Singapore
Best Director: Pin Pin Tan for TO SINGAPORE, WITH LOVE - Singapore
Special Jury Prize: Sara Rastegar for MES SOULIERS ROUGES (MY RED SHOES) - France
Best Film: Yoshiko Hashimoto and Shigeki Kinoshita for MATSURI NO UMA (THE HORSES OF FUKUSHIMA) - Japan

Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature:
Special Mention: Souleymane Démé for his role in GRIGRIS - France, Chad
Special Mention: Ritesh Batra for the screenplay of DABBA (THE LUNCHBOX) - France, Germany, India
Best Actress: Yeo Yann Yann for ILO ILO - Singapore
Best Actor: Irrfan Khan for DABBA (THE LUNCHBOX) - France, Germany, India
Best Director: Tsai Ming Liang for JIAO YOU (STRAY DOGS) - Taiwan, France
Special Jury Prize: Sepehr Seifi for MAHI VA GORBEH (FISH & CAT) - Iran
Best Film: Ang Hwee Sim, Anthony Chen, Wahyuni A. Hadi For ILO ILO - Singapore

Muhr Arab:
Muhr Arab Short:
Special Mention: Camille Salameh for his role in AKAR (TROUBLED WATERS) - Lebanon
Special Mention: Ahmed Yassin for ATFAL ALLAH (CHILDREN OF GOD) - Iraq, UK, Hungary
Best Director: Ali Cherri for THE DISQUIET - Lebanon, France
Special Jury Prize: Haider Rashid for THE DEEP - Iraq, Italy
Best Film: Bavi Yassin, Nore Maatala for DE VERLOREN STEM (THE LOST VOICE) - Belgium, Iraq

Muhr Arab Documentary:
Special Mention: Zeina Daccache for SCHEHERAZADE’S DIARY - Lebanon
Special Jury Prize: Diala Kachmar and Carole Abboud for GUARDIANS OF TIME LOST - Lebanon, UAE
Best Film: Karim Amer for AL MIDAN (THE SQUARE) - USA, Egypt

Muhr Arab Feature:
Special Mention: Mohammed Amin Benamraoui for WADAAN CARMEN (ADIOS CARMEN) - Morocco, Belgium, UAE
Special Mention: Raouia for her roles in ROCK THE CASBAH - Morocco, France and SARIROU AL ASSRAR (PILLOW SECRETS) - Morocco, Qatar
Best Actress: Yasmine Raees for FATAT EL MASNAA (FACTORY GIRL) - Egypt, UAE
Best Actor: Hassan Badida for C’EST EUX LES CHIENS (THEY ARE THE DOGS) - Morocco
Best Director: Hany Abu Assad for OMAR - Palestine, UAE
Special Jury Prize: Nabil Ayouch for C’EST EUX LES CHIENS (THEY ARE THE DOGS) - Morocco
Best Film: Waleed Zuaiter for OMAR - Palestine, UAE

Screening times and more information about the award-winning films can be found on the festival website on

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