Haifaa Al Mansour’s Wadjda won both best film and best actress in the Muhr Arab feature competition at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), while Turkish drama Inside won best film and best actor in the Muhr AsiaAfrica competition. 

Waad Mohammed, the young star of critically-acclaimed Saudi-set drama Wadjda, picked up the best actress prize. Best actor in the Arab competition went to Egypt’s Amr Waked for his performance in Winter Of Discontent, while best director went to Kamal El Mahouti for French-Moroccan drama My Brother.

The special jury prize in the Arab competition went to producer Dina Farouk for Egyptian drama Chaos, Disorder. A special mention went to actress Alexandra Kahwagi for her role in Syrian drama Round Trip.

In the Muhr AsiaAfrica feature competition, best actor went to Inside’s Engin Gunaydin, while best actress went to Egypt’s Aida El-Kashef, for her performance in Indian director Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus.

Kim Ki-duk picked up best director in the AsiaAfrica section for his Venice Golden Lion winner Pieta. The special jury prize went to Nicholas Bruckman, the producer of Musa Syeed’s Valley Of Saints, and a special mention went to Television from Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa S. Farooki.

For the first time in DIFF’s history, the audience award was split between two films - Ernest And Celestine from France and Kurdish filmmaker Karzan Kader’s Bekas, which was produced by Sweden.

This year, 83 films competed for more than $600,000 in prize money at DIFF. The festival also experienced a 30% increase in industry attendance at Dubai Film Market, during which 370 meetings were held as part of co-production strand Dubai Film Connection (DFC).  


Muhr Arab Feature:

Special Mention: Alexandra Kahwagi for her role in Round Trip (Syria, UAE, Germany, France, Egypt)

Best Actress: Waad Mohammed, Wadjda (Germany, Saudi Arabia, UAE)

Best Actor: Amr Waked, Winter Of Discontent (Egypt)

Best Director: Kamal El Mahouti, My Brother (France, Morocco)

Special Jury Prize: Dina Farouk, Chaos, Disorder (Egypt)

Best Film: Roman Paul, Gerhard Meixner, Wadjda (Germany, Saudi Arabia, UAE)

Muhr Arab Documentary:

Special Mention: Farah Kassem, My Father Looks Like Abdel Nasser (Lebanon)

Best Director: Hinde Boujemaa, It Was Better Tomorrow (Tunisia)

Special Jury Prize: Mohanad Yaqubi, Sami Said, Infiltrators (Palestine, UAE)

Best Film: Khaled Kaissar, The Turtle’s Rage (Germany)

Muhr Arab Shorts:

Best Director: Fyzal Boulifa, The Curse (UK)

Special Jury Prize: Ghassan Kairouz, Behind Me Olive Trees (Lebanon)

Best Film: Murray Bartlett, Noor (Egypt, US)

Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature:

Special Mention: Television, dir: Mostofa S. Farooki (Bangladesh)

Best Actress: Aida El-Kashef, Ship Of Theseus (India)

Best Actor: Engin Gunaydin, Inside (Turkey)

Best Director: Kim Ki-duk, Pieta (South Korea)

Special Jury Prize: Nicholas Bruckman, Valley Of Saints (India)

Best Film: Zeki Demirkubuz, Inside (Turkey)

Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary:

Special Mention: Sourav Sarangi, Char…The No-Mans’ Island (India)

Special Mention: Mosco Kamwendo, Comrade President (Zimbabwe)

Best Director: Wang Bing, Three Sisters (France, Hong Kong)

Special Jury Prize: Mohsen Amiryoussefi, Pirooz Kalantari, Kahrizak, Four Views (Iran)

Best Film: Nishtha Jain, Torstein Grude, Signe Bryge Sorenson, Gulabi Gang (India, Norway, Denmark)

Muhr AsiaAfrica Shorts:

Best Director: Nargiza Mamatkulova, Silence (Kyrgyzstan)

Special Jury Prize: Taalay Kulmendeiev, Silence (Kyrgyzstan)

Best Film: L. Rezan Yesilbas, Silent (Turkey)

Muhr Emirati:

Best Director: Abdulla Aljunaibi, Humaid Alawadi, The Path (UAE)

Special Jury Prize: Muna Al Ali, Durbeen (UAE)

Best Film: Juma Al Sahli, The Goat’s Head (UAE)


Best Documentary: Khaled Jarrar, Infiltrators (Palestine, UAE)

Best Short: Amr Abdelhadi, Familial Fever (Jordan)

Best Feature: Djamila Sahraoui, Yema (Algeria, France, UAE)

Dubai Expo 2020 People’s Choice Award:

Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Ernest And Celestine (France)

Karzan Kader, Bekas (Sweden)