The winners of the Arab Film Competition have been unveiled at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, where China’s Full Circle and doc Searching for Sugar Man [pictured] were also named the ‘Best of the Fest’.

With total prize money of over $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.

At a ceremony held at Doha’s Al Rayyan Theatre, the Best Narrative Feature was The Repentant, from director Merzak Allouache, and the Best Documentary was Lebanese Rocket Society, from directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige.

Best of the Fest

Film lovers in Doha voted for the Chinese feature film Full Circle, the story of a group of irrepressible senior citizens who decide to enter a reality show on television, and Searching for Sugar Man,a documentary on the life of enigmatic musician Rodriguez, as the ‘Best of the Fest’.

Both films received $50,000 each as prize money and DTFF will screen the films again.

The fourth edition of the festival closes on Saturday (Nov 24).

Narrative Feature winners

Best Narrative Feature Film
The Repentant (Algeria, France), directed by Merzak Allouache

Best Narrative Filmmaker
Nabil Ayouch for Horses of God (Morocco)

Best Performance
: Ahmed Hafiane for Professor (Tunisia, France, Qatar)

Special Mention:
Goodbye Morocco (France, Belgium), directed by Nadir Moknèche

Documentary Narrative winners

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

Short film winners

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

Made in Qatar winners

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 $100,000 each. An award of $50,000 was awarded to the best directors in both categories. The Best Performance Award winner in the Feature Narrative competition received $15,000. The Best Short film received $10,000 and a development prize of up to $10,000. The Made in Qatar development award winner was presented a cash prize of $10,000.


The Feature Narrative jury was headed by Tunisian actress Hend Sabry. The other jury members included: Dr. Emad Amralla Sultan, cultural advisor to Katara Cultural Village; Indian director Ashutoush Gowarikar; Turkish film-maker Yeşim Ustaoğlu and Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul.

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.