Two films have won the Arte France Cinema Awards, worthEuros 10,000, at this year's CineMart project market at the Rotterdam FilmFestival.
Five Worlds is a five part film project byfilmmakers Sobhi al-Zobaidi (Palestine), U-Wei bin Hajisaari (Malaysia), KamalTabrizi (Iran), Homayoun Paiz (Afghanistan), Garin Nugroho and producer leBrocquyFraser Productions.
Dry Season (Daratt), which is set in Chad, is to bedirected by Mahamat Saleh Haroun (France) and producer Chinguitty Films.
Meanwhile, the fifth Prince Claus Fund Film Grant of 15,000Euros was awarded CineMart project Hamaca Paraguaya by Paz Encina(Paraguay).
The winning projects saw off competition from a host ofbetter known directors, including the UK's Nicolas Roeg, David MacKenzie, PeterGreenaway, the US' John Sayles, Germany's Sandra Nettelbeck and China's JiaZhangke. In all, 47 projects were selected for Cinemart line-up outof 539 entries.
The jury for Arte France Cinema Awards comprised MichelReilhac (Arte France Cinema, France), Simon Field (Illuminations Films, UK) andChrista Saredi (Switzerland). They issued a statement explaining their choices:
"Dry Season has been chosen because it is agreat project from Chad by a film maker who has proven through his two previousfilms that he is a world class artist. African cultures have a growingdifficulty in being part of the world representation in cinema. Dry Seasonis a universal story set in a city and country barely seen by cinemaaudiences."
"Five Worlds is a timely enterprise to bringfive different voices from five different Muslim cultures reacting to a fastchanging context for challenges faced by Islam today. Being Muslim tends tolead to prejudiced and oversimplified reactions in the western world today.This project is unique in a sense that it shows the width, variety andcomplexity of Islamic cultures in a film also designed to foster debate among thesesame cultures themselves."
Theaim of the Prince Claus Fund is to spotlight a filmmaker who inspires his orher own community and other filmmakers. The jury for the prize said that thewinning film "was clearly one of the strongest ideas amongst the 2005 CineMartselection. We believe that this project embodies a fresh cinematographic voice.It uniquely connects with the reality and character of the country in questionwhile simultaneously engaging with universal issues. Time and silence areanchored, dramatised and taken beyond boundaries."