The Dubai Film Connection (DFC) handed out $115,000 in prize money on Thursday night, including the top three prizes of $25,000 which went to Ahmed Ibrahim’s Kharouf (Egypt), Leyla Bouzid’s God Protect My Daughter (Tunisia) and Ghada Terawi’s The Forgotten (Palestine).
Ibrahim’s Kharouf follows a man on the verge of leaving Egypt; while God Protect My Daughter captures pre-revolutionary Tunisia through the character of a rebellious teenager. The Forgotten tells the story of Japanese, pro-Palestinian activist Kozo Okamoto.
The $8,250 Arte International Prize went to Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi’s Gaza D.C., revolving around an ill-fated love story between a US activist and a local man in the Gaza Strip.
The $6,800 OIF Prize, sponsored by Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, went to Alexandria-based Mark Lotfy’s documentary Dangerous Profiles, exploring how political activists in Egypt have created online avatars.
Palestinian Firas Khoury’s The Flag won the $10,000 Front Row/KNCC Award. Produced by Hany Abu-Assad, the film revolves around a group of students who plot to swap the Israeli flag flying over their school for a Palestinian one.
The $13,750 CNC Award went to filmmaker Joyce A. Nashawati’s Greek-set Heatwave about an Arab security guard whose mind starts to unravel when his papers are confiscated.
The inaugural $10,000 New Century Filmmaker Award went to Uda Benyamina’s Bastard about a fatherless teenager growing up on a tough Paris housing estate.
In addition, five producers attending DFC were awarded accreditation for next year’s Producers Network at Cannes: Habib Attia, Abdullah Boushahri, Bassem Maher Palmyre Badinier and Silvio Saade.
“We started with a remit of bringing international guests together with filmmakers from the Arab region and from those simple beginnings, we’ve seen what we’ve achieved in the market over the last three days,” said DFC director Jane Williams.