Source: Courtesy of FIDMarseille


Background, the second feature from Syrian director Khaled Abdulwahed, won the €8,000 grand prix of the international festival at the FidMarseille festival in France on July 9. The fesival showcases discoveries and innovative features and projects to a public and industry audience. 

The experimental documentary explores concepts of memory and identity as Abdulwahed pursues the story of his father who studied in Germany in the 1950s along with the director’s own journey to Germany, where he is now based following Syria’s devastating civil war.

Abdulwahed previously co-directed 2020 refugee documentary Purple Sea; both were produced by Berlin-based production outfit Pong. 

The second major award in the international competition, the Georges de Beauregard prize was won by Yohei Yamakado’s The Mariner, a Portugal-France co-production.

The international jury was headed by German director Angela Schanelec, with French academic Fabienne Aguado, Australian writer and critic Annabel Brady-Brown, Algerian director Hassen Ferhani, and Haden Guest of the Harvard Film Archive.

Clément Roussier and Hadrien Mossaz’s 58-minute In Silence And Clamour won the €5,000 prize of the French competition, with a special mention going to Mathilde Girard’s The Night Drags On.

The €3,000 first film prize for a film in any section of the festival was awarded to Brazilian director Pedro Geraldo’s Sofia Was. A further first film, Nader Ayache’s Renaissance, won the jury prize. 

The €2,000 grand prix of the Flash Competition was won by the UK’s Miranda Pennell for her 33-minutes film Trouble. The €1,000 Flash jury prize was picked up by Germany’s Gianna Scholten for her 21-minutes Two Giants That Exist Here- A German Fairytale.

The inaugural Cine+ Competition prize went to French director Damien Manivel for The Island. The award was endowed with €15,000 from French pay-TV channel Cine+ to put towards theatrical distribution for the film.