Stray Bullet from Lebanon’s Georges Hachem took the first prize in the Muhr Arab competition at the 7th Dubai International Film Festival, while A Screaming Man was awarded the same honour in the Muhr AsiaAfrica section.

Also in the Muhr Arab competition, Mohamed Diab’s Six, Seven, Eight, which tackles the subject of sexual harassment in Egypt, was awarded both the best actress and actor prizes for Bushra and Maged El Kidwaany respectively. The special jury prize went to Jordanian director Mohammed Al Hushki for Transit Cities.

In the Muhr AsiaAfrica competition, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s A Screaming Man, co-produced by France, Belgium and Chad, was also awarded prizes for best actor (Youssouf Djaoro) and best editor (Marie-Helen Dozo). Best actress went to Iran’s Kobra Hasanzadeh Esfahani for her performance in Salve, while the special jury prize went to Oliver Schmitz for South Africa-Germany co-production Life, Above All. The Arab and AsiaAfrica competitions also had prizes for documentaries and short films (see full list below).  

The festival also introduced a competition for Emirati films this year. “We found that for the first time, there were enough films being produced to make an Emirates competition feasible,” explained DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya.

First prize in the Muhr Emirati competition went to Nayla Al Khaja’s Malal (Bored), while the special jury prize went to Hamama from Nujoom Alghanem.

DIFF artistic director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “All three of our competitions – the Muhr Arab, Muhr AsiaAfrica and Muhr Emirati – were outstanding this year, and one of our greatest challenges was to whittle the entries down to an initial shortlist.”

Now in its seventh edition, DIFF aims to bring important international films to the region as well as provide a platform for Arab and African filmmaking. A total of 157 films from 57 countries were screened at the fest, including 41 world premieres, 13 international premieres, and 58 Middle East premieres.

Prize money worth a combined $600,000 was handed out to the winners in the three competition sections, and lifetime achievement awards were presented to Sean Penn, Egyptian-Lebanese actress Sabah and African filmmaker Souleymane Cisse. However Penn has to cancel his visit to Dubai due to the political situation and upheaval in Haiti where he runs a relief organisation.

Also new at DIFF this year were screenings on the beach for the local audience and Cultural Bridge day – a tour that explained local culture and gave visitors complete freedom to ask. The festival also had an expanded market presence and will release data on market screenings and business concluded tomorrow (Dec 21).


Muhr Arab Short Films:

Second Prize: Halima Ouardiri for MOKHTAR - Canada

Special Jury Prize: Abdenour Zahzah for GARAGOUZ - Algeria

First Prize: Sabine El Chamaa for A TUESDAY - Lebanon

Muhr Arab Documentary:

Special Mention: Iman Kamel for NOMAD’S HOME - Egypt, Germany, Kuwait, UAE

Special Mention: Abdallah Al Ghoul for TICKET FROM AZRAEL - Egypt, Germany, Kuwait, UAE

Second Prize: Soudade Kaadan for DAMASCUS ROOF AND TALES OF PARADISE - Syria, Qatar

Special Jury Prize: Omar Sharqawi for MY FATHER FROM HAIFA - Denmark

First Prize: Mahmoud Al Massad for THIS IS MY PICTURE WHEN I WAS DEAD - Netherlands, USA, UAE

Muhr Arab - Feature

Best Cinematography: Xavier Castro for PEGASUS - Morocco

Best Composer: Essam Rafea for SEPTEMBER RAIN - Syria

Best Editor: Hicham Saqer for MICROPHONE - Egypt

Best Screenplay: Jillali Ferhati for AT DAWN - Morocco

Best Actress: Bushra for 678 (SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT) - Egypt

Best Actor: Maged El Kidwaany for 678 (SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT) - Egypt

Special Jury Prize: Mohammed Al Hushki for TRANSIT CITIES - Jordan

First Prize: Georges Hachem for STRAY BULLET – Lebanon

Muhr AsiaAfrica Short Films:

Second Prize: Jong-chul Park for UNFUNNY GAME - South Korea

Special Jury Prize: Chih Yi Wen for SLEEPING WITH HER - Taiwan

First Prize: Nargiza Mamatkulova for THE EARRINGS - Kyrgyzstan

Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary:

Special Mention: Ashvin Kumar for INSHALLAH, FOOTBALL - India

Special Mention: Shahin Parhami for AMIN - Iran, Canada, South Africa

Second Prize: John Akomfrah for THE NINE MUSES - Ghana, UK

Special Jury Prize: Ariane Astrid Atodji for KOUNDI AND THE NATIONAL THURSDAY - Cameroon

First Prize: Jia Zhang-Ke for I WISH I KNEW - China

Muhr AsiaAfrica - Feature

Special Mention:  Lee Min-Ji for END OF ANIMAL - South Korea

Best Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom and Yukonteorn Mingmongkon for UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES - UK, Thailand, Spain, Germany, France

Best Composer: Jonny Greenwood for NORWEGIAN WOOD - Japan

Best Editor: Marie-Helene Dozo for A SCREAMING MAN - France, Chad, Belgium

Best Screenplay: Mohsen Abdolvahab for PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB - Iran

Best Actress: Kobra Hasanzadeh Esfahani for MARHAM (SALVE) - Iran

Best Actor: Youssouf Djaoro for A SCREAMING MAN - France, Chad, Belgium

Special Jury Prize: Oliver Schmitz for LIFE, ABOVE ALL - South Africa, Germany

First Prize: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun for A SCREAMING MAN - France, Chad, Belgium

Muhr Emirati Awards:

Special Mention: Waleed Al Shehhi for REEH (WIND) - UAE

Second Prize: Khalid Al Mahmood for SABEEL - UAE

Special Jury Prize: Nujoom Alghanem for HAMAMA - UAE

First Prize: Nayla Al Khaja for MALAL (BORED) – UAE

FIPRESCI prize:Transit Cities by Mohammed Al Hushki (Jordan)

Damas People’s Choice Award:My Father From Haifa by Omar Shargawi (Denmark)

DIFF Young Journalist Award: Sarah Al Gethami, a Saudi student at Middlesex University in Dubai