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Source: Cairo International Film Festival

Fernando Frias

Immigrant drama I Am No Longer Here, from Mexican director Fernando Frias, has won the Golden Pyramid for best film at the 41st Cairo International Film Festival.

Scroll down for full list of winners

Frias’ timely drama centres on a Mexican teenager forced to move to the US after getting on the wrong side of a drugs cartel. Its young star, Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino, was feted with best actor.

Also in the international competition, Belgian director Bas Devos won the Silver Pyramid for urban night-time odyssey tale Ghost Tropic. The Bronze Pyramid was shared by Chinese drama The Fourth Wall by Zhang Chong and Zhang Bo and Czech drama A Certain Kind Of Silence by director Michel Hogenauer.

Palestinian filmmaker Najwa Najjar took best screenplay for her romantic road movie Between Heaven And Earth.

Mindanao, from Philippine director Brillante Mendoza, was feted with two prizes. Judy Ann Santos won best actress for her performance as the mother of a young girl going through cancer treatment. The film was also awarded best artistic contribution.

Arab Cinema Prizes

In the separate Arab cinema competition, the winners were led by family drama A Son, from Tunisian director Mehdi Barsaoui. It picked up best Arab film and the special jury award as well as the UNFPA Award.

Iraqi filmmaker Mohanad Hayal won best director for Haifa Street – exploring sectarian violence in the heart of Baghdad – while Ali Thamer won best actor for his performance in the film.

The award for best non-fiction went to Lebanese Elie Kamal’s Beirut Terminus, a haunting reflection on his divided home city through the prism of a defunct railway line which once crossed Lebanon.

In the Cinema Of Tomorrow competition, focused on emerging Arab talent, Palestinian director Wisam Al Jafari, won the best short film prize for his work Ambience, capturing life in the refugee camp he calls home through the tale of a musician looking for a quiet place to record a track. Al Jafari was also feted at CIFF this year as one of Screen International’s Arab Stars of Tomorrow.

CIFF has recently been awarded Oscar-qualifying status by the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) so the win means Ambience is now eligible for consideration in the animated and live action short film categories of the Academy Awards, without a theatrical run. The work will screen in Los Angeles on Dec 14 at a joint event organised by NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) and AMPAS.

In the International Critics’ Week award section, Costa Rican filmmaker Sofia Quiros Ubeda won best film for Land of Ashes while Romanian director Andrei Cohn won the special jury award for Arrest.

Cairo International Film Festival Winners 2019

International Competition

  • Best Film (Golden Pyramid): I Am No Longer Here, dir. Fernando Frias
  • Special Jury Award (Silver Pyramid): Ghost Tropic, dir. Bas Devos
  • Best First Or Second Work Of A Director (Bronze Pyramid)
    The Fourth Wall, dirs. Zhang Chong, Zhang Bo
    A Certain Kind Of Silence, Michel Hogenauer
  • Best Screenplay: Between Heaven And Earth, Najwa Najjar
  • Best Actor: Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino, I Am No Longer Here
  • Best Actress: Judy Ann Santos, Mindanao
  • Best Artistic Contribution: Mindanao, Brillante Mendoza


Sons Of Denmark, Ulaa Salim

International Critics Week Prize

  • Best Film: Land Of Ashes, Sofia Quiros Ubeda
  • Special Jury Award: Arrest, Andrei Cohn

International Jury: Arab Competition

  • Best Arab Film: A Son, Mehdi Barsaoui
  • Special Jury Award: A Son, Mehdi Barsaoui
  • Best Arabic Film Awarded To Director: Haaifa Street, Mohanad Hayal
  • Best Non-Fiction Award: Beirut Terminus
  • Best Actor: Ali Thamer, Haifa Street

Cinema Of Tomorrow

  • Best Short Film: Ambience, Wisam Al Jafari
  • Special Jury Award: The Marvelous Misadventures Of The Stone Lady, Gabriel Abrantes
  • Special Mentions: Contact, Smair Syriani / The Trap, Nada Riyadh


A Son, Mehdi Barsaoui

Audience Award

Let’s Talk, Marianne Khoury