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Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2011
5th edition (formerly the Middle East International Film Festival)

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The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (formerly the Middle East International Film Festival) was established in 2007, with the aim of helping to create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. Presented each October by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the event is committed to curating exceptional programs to engage and educate the local community, inspire filmmakers and nurture the growth of the regional film industry.

With its commitment to presenting works by Arab filmmakers in competition alongside those by major talents of world cinema, the Festival offers Abu Dhabi’s diverse and enthusiastic audiences a means of engaging with their own and others’ cultures through the art of cinema. At the same time, a strong focus on the bold new voices of Arab cinema connects with Abu Dhabi’s role as a burgeoning cultural capital in the region and marks the Festival as a place for the world to discover and gauge the pulse of recent Arab filmmaking.


AWARDS 2011

Narrative Feature Competition

This competition centers on exciting vision and original storytelling in narrative feature films by international filmmakers.

In 2011, the Narrative Feature Competition presented a selection of 16 films from 11 countries. The jury awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Best Narrative Film (0,000)
Chicken With Plums (Poulet Aux Prunes), by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (France/Germany/Belgium)

Special Jury Award (,000)
A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin), by Asghar Farhadi (Iran)

Best Director from the Arab World (,000)
Ismaël Ferroukhi for Free Men (Les Hommes Libres) (France/Morocco)
« For his excellent telling of an unknown and important story »

Best Producer from the Arab World (,000)
Ziad Hamzeh and Ridha Behi, for Always Brando (Dima Brando), by Ridha Behi (Tunisia)
« In recognition of their determination to realize their cinematic dream against all odds »

Best Actor (,000)
Woody Harrelson in Rampart, by Oren Moverman (USA)
« For his riveting and complex performance as a derailed LA cop »

Best Actress (,000)
Jayashree Basavaraj in Lucky, by Avie Luthra (South Africa)

Jury Special Mention
Soufia Issami, Mouna Bahmad, Nouza Akel and Sara Betioui, actresses, On the Edge (Morocco, France, Germany, UAE)
« For their impressively authentic performances »

Narrative Competition Jury
President: Nabil Maleh, Director/Writer/Producer, Syria
Marianne Denicourt, Actress, France
Lucinda Englehart, Producer, UK
Laila Eloui, Actress, Egypt
George Sluizer, Director, Netherlands

New Horizons Competition
Held for the second time this year, this awards section focuses on the work of first- and second-time directors from around the world, featuring fresh styles and challenging ideas in narrative films.

In 2011, 12 films from 11 countries competed in the New Horizons Competition. The jury awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Best Film (0,000)
Stories Only Exist When Remembered (Histórias Que Só Existem Quando Lembradas) by Julia Murat (Brazil/Argentina/France)
« It was a unanimous decision by the jury to award this the Best Film prize. It’s a film that opened a window onto a new perspective of both life and death. At once subtle but full of emotion, the story is universal and resonates days after the viewing experience. »

Special Jury Award (,000)
Alms for a Blind Horse (Anhey Ghohrey Sa Daan) by Gurvinder Singh (India)
« For its visual style and a poetic journey indicating a new and intriguing voice to emerge from the cinematic landscape of India »

Best Director from the Arab World (,000)
Amr Salama for Asma’a (Egypt)
« For the bold and important choice of a topic that will engage conversation about the significance of cinema in raising awareness »

Best Producer from the Arab World (,000)
Sooney Kadouh for This Narrow Place, by Kadouh (Lebanon/USA)
« For an independent spirit and a determined effort »

Best Actor (,000)
Maged El Kedwani in Asma’a, by Amr Salama
(Egypt)
« A natural and restrained performance bringing to life a character with human complexity and emotional conflict »

Best Actress (split prize) (,000)
Memona Mohamed in Tears of Sand (Lagrimas de Arena), by Pedro Pérez Rosado (Spain)
« For skillful achievement and a graceful simplicity in creating a complex, understated and unexpected performance »

And
Sonia Guedes in Stories Only Exist When Remembered (Histórias Que Só Existem Quando Lembradas), by Julia Murat (Brazil/Argentina/France)
« For an elegant performance played with a haunting resonance and ageless gravitas »

New Horizons Competition jury
PRESIDENT: Bahman Ghobadi, Director, Iran
Paul Baboudjian, Editor/Cinematographer/Producer, Lebanon/UAE
Marwan Hamed, Director, Egypt
Annemarie Jacir, Director/Writer, Palestine
Aimee Mullins, Actress/Athlete/Model, USA 4

Documentary Feature Competition
In 2011, the Documentary Feature Competition comprised 12 films from 11 countries. The jury awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Best Documentary (0,000)
Position Among the Stars (Stand Ven De Sterren), by Leonard Retel Helmrich (Netherlands)
« Its distinguished cinematic language, the visualization and the way the life of a family is presented in this film takes us to their world and lets us experience the complexities of the society they lived in – with a sense of humor that turns their tragedy into happy moments. »

Special Jury Award (,000)
The Tiniest Place (El Lugar Más Pequeño), by Tatiana Huezo (Mexico)
« This film uses the camera as a professional, artistic means of telling a story in a different way, building a strong cinematic language that helps get to the depth of a tragic experience, yet doesn’t simply dwell in tragedy. »

Best New Director (,000)
Gemma Atwal for Marathon Boy (India/United Kingdom/USA)
« This film demonstrates a strong ability to build a scenario that manipulates the expectations of the scenes and its relation with the characters. Throughout the film the audience takes a long, deep look at an individual life, exploring it step by step, and living through all the happy and sad moments. »

Best Director from the Arab World (,000)
Safinez Bousbia for El Gusto (France/Algeria/Ireland/United Arab Emirates)
« For its accomplishments in linking the past with the present, linking the characters with the scenes, and using the screen to make a dream come true »

Best Producer from the Arab World (,000)
Mohamed Hefzy (Film Clinic) for Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad & the Politician (Al Tahrir 2011: Al Tayib wa al Shariss wa al Siyassi) by Ayten Amin, Tamer Ezzat and Amr Salama (Egypt)
« For the work and effort done to let the audience have a closer look at a historical moment that the Arab world is living currently, through three different and complete points of view »

Documentary Competition jury
PRESIDENT: Tahani Rached, Director/Writer, Egypt/Canada
Anwar Jamal, Director, India
Victor Kossakovsky, Director, Russia
Mahmoud Al Massad, Director/Writer/Cinematographer, Jordan
Mostafa Messnaoui, Writer/Film Critic, Morocco

Our World Competition
The first edition of the Our World Competition is presented in cooperation with Official Partner Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy hub. Our World celebrates films devoted to broadening public awareness of significant environmental issues.
In 2011, Our World presents ten films from seven countries. The jury awarded the following Black Pearl Award:
Best Film About Significant Environmental Issues (,000)
The Last Mountain, by Bill Haney (USA)
« A powerful documentary that shows a community living next to a mountain as it fights to save their environment from a damaging coal company and their own government. The documentary shows both the problem and the consequences and proposes a renewable energy solution. »

Our World jury
The Our World jury consists of graduate students from Abu Dhabi’s Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST).
Khasiaba Al Dalel, Student
Yu-Kuang Lin, Student
Mohamed Asaad Taher, Fellow
Dr. Amal Al Ghaferi, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and
Engineering/Advisor to the Jury

Abu Dhabi Film Festival Audience Choice Award 2011
The audience takes on the role of the jury in this competition, which is open to all films in the Showcase section, as well as the Opening Night film.
Abu Dhabi Film Festival Audience Choice Award (,000) goes to:
Skeem, by Tim Greene (South Africa)

ADFF FIPRESCI Award 2011
The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) was created in 1930 to promote and develop international film culture and safeguard the professional interests of film critics and journalists. With the protection of the freedom and ethics of the film press as its main objective, the federation’s worldwide network of national committees also works to expand the idea of cinema as an art form as well as a tool of cultural education. The International Film Critics’ Award was established to promote film art and support innovation in cinema.

The ADFF FIPRESCI jury focused on Arab films in the Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition and the New Horizons Competition.
The jury awarded the ADFF FIPRESCI Award 2011 to:
El Gusto, by Safinez Bousbia (France/Algeria/Ireland/United Arab Emirates)

THE JURY
Gyôrgy Báron, Hungary
Adnan Madanat, Jordan
Andrea Martini, Italy
Mohamed El Rouby, Egypt

ADFF NETPAC Award 2011
NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) is the leading platform for the discovery and promotion of Asian cinema. To acknowledge and recognize the emergence of new cinematic talent among Asians, it brought the NETPAC Award to international film festivals. As more Asian films are selected for exhibition to world audiences, a yardstick for quality was necessary that matched the competitive spirit fuelling the creative urges of young Asian filmmakers. The NETPAC Award is now given at 28 international film festivals in 21 countries on five continents.
The jury awarded the ADFF NETPAC Award 2011 to:
Marathon Boy, by Gemma Atwal (India, United Kingdom, USA)

THE JURY
Gulnara Abikeyeva
Fatemeh Simin Motamed-Arya
Jocelyne Saab

Emirates Film Competition

Short Narrative Competition:

First Prize – Soul, directed by Fatma Abdulla (UAE)
Second Prize – Dreams of Rice, by Yasser Al Neyadi and Hana Al Shatri (UAE)
Third Prize – Telephoni, directed by Hassan Kiyany (UAE)
Special Jury Award – Raneen, directed by Maitham Al Musawi (Oman)
Best Emirati Film – Soul, directed by Fatma Abdulla (UAE)
Best Script – Dreams of Rice, by Yasser Al Neyadi and Hana Al Shatri (UAE)
Best Cinematography – Wind, directed by Waleed Al Shehhi (UAE)

Short Documentary Competition:
First Prize – A Falcon Will Not Breed a Dove, by Mansour Al Dhaheri (UAE)
Second Prize – Photon, by Awadh Al Hamzani (Saudi Arabia)
Third Prize – A Night to Remember, by Fahmi Farahat (Saudi Arabia)
Special Jury Award – Letters to Palestine, by Rashid Al Marri (UAE)

Student Short Narrative Competition:
First Prize – Maher’s Camera, by Mansour Al Badran (Saudi Arabia)
Second Prize – Mad Camel, by Mohammed Fikree (UAE)
Third Prize – Dinner #7665, by Salma Serry (UAE, Egypt)

Student Short Documentary Competition:
First Prize – 6 on 18, by Salma Serry (UAE, Egypt)
Second Prize – Layers, by Manal Wicki (UAE)
Third Prize – Lahjatna (Our Accent), by Mariam Al Nuaimi (UAE)

International Short Film Competition

Best NarrativeA Marriage, directed by Henning Rosenlund (Norway)
Best DocumentaryWritten in Ink, directed by Martin Rath (Poland)
Best AnimationLuminaris, directed by Juan Pablo Zaramella (Argentina), shared with Specky Four-Eyes, directed by Jean-Claude Rozec (France)
Best Film from the Arab WorldFarewell Exile, by Lamia Alami (Morocco)
Best Producer – Arben Zharku (Kosovo) for The Wedding Tape
Best Producer from the Arab World – Yacine Bouaziz (Algeria) for Tomorrow, Algiers?