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Inside, Wajdja win top prizes, Indian filmmakers shine at DIFF

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Dubai: Turkish film 'Inside' and Saudi production 'Wadjda' walked away with the best film trophies at the 9th Dubai International film festival while Indian documentary filmmaker Nishtha Jain's 'Gulabi Gang' won the top prize in the documentary section in Dubai.

'Inside' also won the best actor trophy for Engin Gunaydin in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Features category while child star Waad Mohammed took home the award for the best actress in Muhr Arab Feature category for her role in 'Wadjda', which has been directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, the first female director to come from Saudi Arabia.

It was a big night for first films from India with Kashmiri movie 'Valley of Saints' by Musa Syeed winning the special jury prize while Egyptian actress Aida El-Kashef won the best actress award in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature category for her turn as an intuitive photographer in Indian film 'Ship of Theseus'. The award was accepted by director Anand Gandhi on behalf of El-Kashef.

The best director trophy went to Kim Ki-duk from South Korea for his film 'Pieta' while Bangladeshi director Mostofa Farooki won a special mention for his film 'Television' in this category.

Kamal El Mahouti took home the best director trophy for his film 'My Brother', best actor award went to Elsheita Ellifat from Egypt for 'Winter of Discontent', Special Mention to Alexandra Kahwagi for her role in 'Round Trip and Special Jury Prize to Dina Farouk, again from Egypt, for her 'Chaos, Disorder' in the Muhr Arab Feature category.

While accepting the best film trophy in the Muhr AsiaAfrica documentary category for 'Gulabi Gang', Jain said, "This is a big recognition for women's movement in India and Indian documentary filmmakers."

Saurav Sarangi from India shared a special mention for his documentary 'Char... The No Man's Island' with 'Comrade President' from Zimbabwe.

Best documentary director trophy went to Wang Bing for 'Three Sisters' while the special jury prize was won by 'Kahrizak, Four Views' from Iran.

Muhr Arab shorts award winners were -- best director: Fyzal Boulifa for 'The Curse', best film went to 'NOOR' while special jury prize was won by Lebanese film 'Behind Me Olive Trees' while Muhr Asia Africa Shorts winner were 'Silence and 'Silent' from Kyrgyzstan and Turkey respectively.

Murh Arab Documentary winning films were 'The Turtles Rage', 'It Was Better Tomorrow', 'My Father Looks Like Abdel Nasser' and 'Infiltrators'.

In the Muhr Emirati category the best film award went to 'The Goat's Head', best director to Abdulla Aljunaibi and Humaid Alawadi for 'The Path' while 'Durbeen' received a special mention.

Dubai Expo 2020 People's Choice award was shared by 'Ernest and Celestine' and Karzan Kader's 'Bekas'. The Prize of the International Critics' for Arab films from FIPRESCI went to 'Infiltrators', 'Familial Fever' and 'Yema'.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, 83 films competed for over USD 600,000 in prize money.

The festival screened 158 films from 60 countries across 43 languages. Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF Chairman, said, "After months of curation, preparation and coordination across multiple stakeholders, industry experts and the Dubai community, DIFF has delivered a true spectacle of cinematic diversity and a showcase of unbridled talent... We consistently strive to raise the standard of cultural events in the region and align ourselves alongside International peers".

The festival honoured veteran Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdel Aziz and British director Michael Apted with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

PTI

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