Last call for Muhr Awards 2009: 2 weeks to go for best of Arab, Asian, African cinema to qualify for

Wed Aug 12,2009

  • 28 prizes worth more than US$575,000, acclaim of prestigious international jury on offer
  • August 31 deadline for Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica competitions

Firaaq - by Nandita Das, Winner of best editing Muhr asiaafrica 2008Emerging and established filmmakers from the Arab world, Asia and Africa have two more weeks to participate in the 2009 Muhr Awards, the region’s foremost film competition, the Dubai International Film Festival announced today.

The Festival’s twin Muhr Arab and Muhr AsiaAfrica Awards offer more than US$575,000 in prize money for the best feature films, cast and crew, short films and documentaries. Filmmakers must submit their entries on or before August 31, 2009 and complete the online application process at the to be eligible for the 28 prizes.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director of DIFF, said the Muhr Awards lead the many Festival initiatives to put talented filmmakers and exemplary films on the fast track to regional and international success.

“In the three years since its inception, the Muhr Awards have recognised more than 50 Arab filmmakers and film talents. In 2008, DIFF expanded the competition to include cinema from Asia and Africa, two of the largest neighbouring demographic groups,” Al Ali said.

Masquerades, Muhr Arab best film 08“In 2009, we expect exponential growth in the number of entries based on the overwhelmingly positive response in previous years,” he added. “There is a tremendous amount of talent in this region, and DIFF is working to give those films and individuals the support and exposure they deserve.”

The Muhr Awards boast a constellation of the most respected names in world cinema on its selection team, expanding the footprint of every Muhr entry. The prestigious jury panels honour outstanding work in acting, cinematography, editing, music and scriptwriting in the feature film category, in addition to the best film and a special jury prize. Six prizes each are awarded in the documentary and short films categories of the two competitions.

Entries to the Muhr Arab competition are also eligible for the Prize of the International Critics offered by the prestigious International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), a DIFF partner.

In 2008, Muhr jury members included Geoffrey Gilmore, then director of the Sundance Film Festival; Peter Scarlet, former executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival; Lars Henrik Hasse, director of the International Oberhausen Short Film Festival; Christian Jeune, Deputy General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival; the Asian Film Academy’s Park Ki Young; leading Egyptian director Khairy Beshara; Golden Globe-winning director Hany Abu-Assad and award-winning Indian director Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

The 2008 Muhr Arab winners include Algerian drama ‘Masquerades’ as Best Feature Film by Lyes Salem, Lebanese film ‘The North Road’ by Carlos Chahine for Short Film first prize, and, ‘Memory of the Cactus: A story of three Palestinian villages’ by Hannah Musleh for first prize in the Documentary category. The winners in the Muhr AsiaAfrica competition include ‘Young Blood’ by China’s Haolun Shu for best short film, ‘Mental’ by Japanese director Kazuhiro Soda for best documentary, and ‘Treeless Mountain’ by South Korea’s So Yong Kim for best feature film.

All entries should be produced after September 1, 2008 and must not have been screened elsewhere in the Gulf region, except for films screened at the 2009 Gulf Film Festival.  All Muhr films must be directed by filmmakers of Arab nationality or origin, for the Muhr Arab Awards, or Asian/African nationals for the Muhr AsiaAfrica. The subject and storyline of the film should be centered on the filmmaker’s native history or culture.

Notes: Muhr Arab Awards: Eligible countries for participation in the competition include:  Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Muhr AsiaAfrica Awards: Eligible countries for participation in the competition include: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, People’s Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan), Congo – Kinshasa, Democratic Republic Congo (Zaire), Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, North Korea, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Reunion, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.

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