The fourth Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF), the annual cultural
event of Doha Film Institute (DFI) tonight announced the winner of its Arab Film Competition, the
region’s only dedicated competition for Arab talent. The winners were feted at a special ceremony
held at Al Rayyan Theatre, attended by the competition jury members comprising film experts and
cultural voices from across the international community.
Mr Abdulaziz Al-Khater, Chief Executive Officer, Doha Film Institute, said: “We had set stringent
quality standards for the Arab Film Competition this year – from the short-listing process to
evaluation. We congratulate the winners as well as every filmmaker who has been part of this
amazing cinema journey, marked by several compelling portraits of how Arab filmmakers react
to the society and world around them. The thematic intensity of their films, their courage to push
the boundaries and their focus on telling our stories with conviction to the rest of the world will
be an inspiration to every emerging filmmaker. The Competition is a true reflection of our focus to
strengthen the regional film industry by setting solid benchmarks of excellence.”
With total prize money of over US$440,000, the Arab Film Competition had its largest selection of
27 films this year, comprising seven documentaries, seven narrative features and 13 shorts from 10
Arab countries, including first time entries to the competition from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The Feature Narrative jury as headed by renowned Tunisian actress Hend Sabry. The other jury
members included: Dr. Emad Amralla Sultan, Cultural Advisor to Katara Cultural Village; Indian
director Ashutoush Gowarikar; Turkish filmmaker Yeşim Ustaoğlu and Algerian author Mohammed
The jury for Documentary Narrative comprised: Syrian documentary filmmaker, producer, and
scriptwriter Hala Al Abdalla; Qatari director Hafiz Ali Ali and Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin
Neshat. The short films at the competition were evaluated by Joana Hadjithomas, Tahani Rached,
and Nadir Mokneche.
Appraising the ‘Made in Qatar’ showcase, which featured the largest line-up yet this year with
19 films, were: Qatari author Wedad Al Kawari; Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, Haifaa Al
Mansour; and founder of the Qatar Fine Arts Society and visual artist Faraj Daham.
The winners in the Narrative Feature category are:
• Best Narrative Feature Film
The Repentant (Algeria, France), directed by Merzak Allouache
• Best Narrative Filmmaker
Nabil Ayouch for Horses of God (Morocco)
• Best Performance
Winner: Ahmed Hafiane for Professor (Tunisia, France, Qatar)
• Special Mention:
Goodbye Morocco (France, Belgium), directed by Nadir Moknèche
The winners in the Documentary Narrative are:
• Best Documentary Feature Film
Lebanese Rocket Society (Lebanon, France, Qatar), directed by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
• Best Documentary Filmmaker
Hanan Abdalla for In The Shadow of a Man (Egypt)
• Special Mention
Damien Ounouri for Fidai
The winners in the short film segment are:
• Best Short Film
The Forgotten (Syria, Qatar), directed by Ehab Tarabieh
The two special awards recognised in the category owing to outstanding nature of the film’s subject
and artistry are:
• Development Award
Sanctity (Saudi Arabia), directed by Ahd
• Special Mention
A Day in 1959 (Lebanon), directed by Nadim Tabet
The winners in the Made in Qatar segment are:
• Made in Qatar Development Award
Bader, directed by Sara Al-Saadi, Maaria Assami, Latifa Al-Darwish
• Special Mention
Lyrics Revolt by Shannon Farhoud, Ashlene Ramadan, Melanie Fridgant, Rana Khaled Al Khatib
The best feature narrative and documentary received prize money of US$100,000 each. An award
of US$50,000 was awarded to the best directors in both categories. The Best Performance Award
winner in the Feature Narrative competition received US$15,000. The Best Short film received
US$10,000 and a development prize of up to US$10,000. The Made in Qatar development award
winner was presented a cash prize of US$ 10,000.
The award winning films will be screened at DTFF on Friday and Saturday. DTFF 2012 Arab Film
Competition films are also available to view through Festival Scope, www.festivalscope.com, the
benchmark online service for film professionals allowing them to watch on demand films from more
than 80 of the most prestigious international film festivals.
DFI and Festival Scope will profile the Arab Film Competition Narrative and Documentary features
directly after the festival and will also present a special focus on several of DFI's MENA grantees to
further profile their work to an international audience.
DTFF Arab Film Competition: Feature Narrative
For injecting new edginess into an established genre, and for the originality of its screenplay,
which is carried by outstanding performances and skillful direction, the jury rewards a
special mention to Nadir Moknèche’s Goodbye Morocco.
For his presence, his sincerity and his truthful portrayal of a man torn between his feelings
and his principles, the jury presents the award for the Best Performance in a narrative
feature film to Ahmed El Hafiane for his role in Professor by Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud.
For creating a powerful atmosphere in order to tackle a delicate subject with bravery, and
for showing craftsmanship in deftly merging reality with fiction, the jury presents the award
for Best Director to Nabil Ayouch for Horses of God.
For its powerful emotional thrust and for the subtle manner in which it treats the complexity
of its characters at a tragic moment in their existence, the jury presents the award for Best
Narrative Feature to The Repentant by Merzak Allouache.
DTFF Arab Film Competition: Documentary
For skillfully using a personal story to shine a light on a very important and transformational
moment in Algerian history with an affecting, humanistic style, the jury awards a special
mention to Damien Ounouri, the promising director of Fidaï.
For presenting diverse female subjects who come from different generations and segments
of society, and succeeding in encouraging them to express themselves with bravery; for
exposing the beauty and dynamism in their spirits despite their sometimes sad and difficult
life circumstances; and for confronting a common subject with a distinguished and unique
directorial style, which makes the film engaging in both form and content, the jury present
the Best Documentary Director Award to Hanan Abdalla for In the Shadow of a Man.
In recognition of its immense efforts of research and its ability to build a dream and convince
us with it; for its success in skillfully connecting a fantasy from the past to a current political
situation; for its distinctive, personal narrative voice, which is playful and humorous despite
the gravity of its subject; because it is able to leverage various stylistic methods, including
experimental, documentary and archival, while maintaining its cohesion; and because it
motivates new dialogue and a return to history and memory, the jury presents the Best
Feature Documentary Award to The Lebanese Rocket Society by Joana Hadjithomas and
DTFF Arab Film Competition: Shorts
Praising the artistry of a filmmaker, producer and screenwriter who is inspired, talented and
creative, and whose future work the jury is eager to see, the jury awards a Special Mention
to Nadim Tabet for his A Day in 1959.
For the courageous and powerful performance of its actress, and for the work of the director
in addressing the film’s issues in a way that highlights the extreme solitude of a Saudi
woman in a thorough, profound and tangible way, the jury awards the Development Award
to Sanctity by Ahd.
For the beauty of its cinematography, its wonderful characters and its harsh yet moving
nature, all of which are wonderfully embodied by the Syrian landscape, the jury presents the
Award for Best Short Film to Forgotten by Ehab Tarabieh.
Made in Qatar
For its distinguished cinematography, its remarkable focus on its subject matter, and for its
discussion of a contemporary language of youth culture that is in alignment with the social
and political changes currently being witnessed by the Arab world, the jury grants a special
mention to the film Lyrics Revolt, by Shannon Farhoud, Ashlene Ramadan, Melanie Fridgant
and Rana Khaled Al Khatib.
• The Made in Qatar Award goes to a film that is distinguished by its courage and
transparency. Using smooth cinematic language, it captures a segment of Qatari society
in a humanitarian way, and its protagonist is extraordinary for expressing his ideas with
spontaneity as he refuses racial, ethnic and tribal discrimination. The award goes to the
short documentary Bader, by Sara Al-Saadi, Maaria Assami and Latifa Al-Darwish.
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