The fourth edition of the Gulf Film Festival concluded with an awards ceremony where the best filmmakers from the region picked up more than half a million dirhams (more than $136,000) in prizes and awards.

His Excellency Mohammed Al Murr, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), presented trophies and cash prizes to the winners of the Gulf Competition for film professionals and students, and the Festival’s inaugural International Competition for short films.

At the closing ceremony the festival also presented its 2011 Lifetime Achievement honours to Emirati actress Mariam Sultan; Saudi director/producer Mohammad F. Al Gazzaz and Kuwaiti producer/director Mohammad Al-Sanousi for their contribution to Arab cinema, while the Special Recognition Award went to Kuwaiti actor Mohammed Almunai.

The festival also hosted director Abbas Kiarostami, who held a master-class for 45 filmmakers, as well as avant-garde French filmmaker Gerard Courant, whose films were screened in the festival’s In Focus programme.

In addition to the winners in the in-competition segments at the festival, the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi presented two special awards to outstanding filmmakers at the closing ceremony. The prize was a four-week educational scholarship for an acting or film-making course at the Academy.

In all 153 films from 31 countries were screened at GFF 2011, with all shows open and free for the public. There were over 114 films from the Arabian peninsula, including 45 from the UAE and a strong representation from the Persian Gulf GCC region and Iraq.

The festival  also organised free student workshops led by film industry experts and by New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi, which featured sessions by director Nadia Fares and cinematographer Savas Alatis. 

The main winners at GFF 2011 are:

Official Gulf Competition – Feature:

First Prize: Leaving Baghdadby Koutaiba Al-Janabi Iraq

Second Prize: The Quarter Of Scarecrows by Hassan Ali Mahmood -

Official Gulf Competition – Documentary:

First Prize: Hamamaby Nujoom Alghanem

Second Prize: Colaby Yahya Hassan Al-Allaq

Third Prize: Goodbye Babylonby Amer Alwan

Special Jury Prize: Alanfal – Fragments Of Life And Death by Mano Khalil

The New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi Awards:

Hamad Saghran from UAE

Sarmad Al-Zoubidy from Oman