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Babak Najafi wins lucrative Göteborg award

Sweden’s Göteborg International Film Festival has awarded director Babak Najafi the Startsladden Award - one of the industry’s biggest prizes for a short film.

The Swedish director, whose Easy Money (Snabba Cash II) recorded 323,475 admissions domestically in 2012, won cash and services worth $108,000 (SEK 700,000) for The Day My Dad Was Shot (Gabriel och Lasermannen).

In the short, Najafi revisits 19-year-old Gabriel Aybar, whose father Isa was shot by the “Laser Man” serial killer in 1992. The director met the family for the first time in 1998 and the film sets out to discover what happened to the scared five-year-old who once talked about revenge.

Najafi said: “I was deeply moved by the event when it happened, and I am happy that I wasn’t alone. I have carried it with me for 14 years, and finally got the opportunity to make a film about it.”

The director’s first feature, Sebbe, won Best Debut at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2010.

The competition is co-organised by the Swedish Film Institute and Swedish pubcaster SVT, which will air all entries (and the winner on Feb 11).

The Audience Prize went to Swedish director Katja Wik’s Offerrollsretorik (Victim-Mentality Rhetoric), “a tragicomic portrait of women’s victim-mentality rhetoric in everyday life”.

Also supported by the Swedish Film Institute and SVT, Göteborg’s Big Novella Film Award was given to Swedish director Niclas Larsson’s Vatten (Water), about a 16-year-old girl who falls in “young unconditional love.” The prize comes with a cheque for $31,000 (SEK 200,000).

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