Hawi won Best Arab Film and Balls picked up the award for Best Arab Filmmaker in recognition for its screenplay at the second Doha Tribeca Film Festival (DTFF) which came to a dramatic end at the Closing Night Gala and open-air concert by superstar Ragheb Alama along the Arabian Gulf at Katara Cultural Village.

The First Grader and Grandma, A Thousand Times won the Audience Awards for Best Narrative Film and Best Documentary Film. The prize for Best Arab Short Film went to Sirwar Zirkly’s Missing.

Mahmoud Kaabour, director of Grandma, A Thousand Times also received a Special Jury Mention in the Arab Film Competition for his film, a heartfelt celebration of family ties. The jury prizes were the first ones ever handed out at DTFF, which launched in 2009.

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Fahad Al-Thani, Chairman of the DFI Festival Board, DFI Executive Director Amanda Palmer, Managing Director Maggie Kim, DFI Head of Education and Programmer Scandar Copti, DFI programmers Hania Mroue and Chadi Zeneddine, Jury President and legendary Egyptian actress Yosra, Tribeca Enterprises co-founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, and Chief Creative Officer Geoffrey Gilmore attended the Closing Night Gala.  The First Grader director Justin Chadwick attended with stars Naomie Harris, Oliver Litondo and producers David M. Thompson, Penny Wolf, Richard Harding, Anant Singh and Sam Feuer.

A host of other luminaries and filmmakers were in attendance including Bosnian director/screenwriter and jury member Danis Tanovic, Indian director and jury member Bhavna Talwar, actor/writer/director and jury member Nick Moran, Arab star Adel Imam, American/Egyptian director and comedian Ahmed Ahmed, Certified Copy star William Shimell, Secretariat director Randall Wallace, acclaimed composer Nitin Sawhney, Palestinian actress Yasmine Al Massri. and Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat.

The two Arab film competition winners each received $100,000 (USD) and Audience Award winners received prize monies of $100,000 (USD) each. The five-member DTFF jury consisted of Yosra, Salma Hayek Pinault, Nick Moran, Bavna Talwar, Danis Tanovic.  The jury for the Arab Short Film Competition was comprised of filmmakers from the Arab Film Competition.  The award for Best Arab Short Film received $10,000 (USD).

As part of the DTFF’s partnership with the Giffoni Experience, an international exchange of kids’ ideas and film experiences, 60 local Doha children became jurors of a carefully curated film selection.  The jury who worked with six other international jurors awarded prizes to two short films –  Pictogram Story, an offbeat animated love story and Transit, the story of a 10 year old boy who on his return journey home from holiday stumbles across a mysterious and desperate man at the airport who transforms his life forever.

Amanda Palmer, Executive Director of DFI said: “This year’s DTFF has provided a fantastic showcase for our Arab and international filmmakers and I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s prize winners and thank our jury for their careful deliberation. The array of films we’ve screened over the past five days span the personal to the epic, and we’ve seen films that engage, entertain and touch us by using the simple skills of storytelling.  Over the past year we’ve worked hard at DFI to grow our film festival and incorporate more films- and more incredible events into this year’s programme. From Family Day to TEDxDoha, to World Premieres and successful community Outdoor Screenings, the past five days have been packed with inspiring events and unique experiences. This is a fantastic moment for Qatar. We’re glad our local community has supported this year’s Festival with such enthusiasm and we look forward to building on this for next year.”

“We congratulate the winners of our first Arab Film Competition and  Arab Short Competition and salute all of the wonderful filmmakers at this year’s Festival,” said Scandar Copti. “The Doha Tribeca Film Festival stands for storytelling rooted in our region and creating opportunity for Arab filmmakers to excel in the realm of filmmaking. This year’s Festival has allowed us to build on our founding goals to support and activate the community to provide educational resources for our young feature and short filmmakers and all those that love everything about film.”

Said Maggie Kim, Managing Director, DFI and DTFF: ”This Festival’s many different elements have helped it forge a real connection with this community, as the attendance figures show. Everything from panels to industry events to Family Day and Outdoor Screenings at Katara Open Air Theater have combined to create an important film hub. We’re proud to be contributing to the cultural life of Doha and look forward to a bright future in this community for DTFF and the year-round activities of DFI.”

Jury President Yosra added: “It was a great honor and pleasure to be the first jury president at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, working with such unique jurors. The past five days were hard work for myself and fellow jurors, Salma, Nick, Danis, Bhavna. They were all outstanding.  Making friends in life is very difficult but I made wonderful friends in just a few days. I also thank all those who have worked on the Doha Tribeca Film Festival to make it such a great success.”

Said Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises: “The Festival took a giant step forward this year with a film program that has brought together a wide range of perspectives and filmmaking approaches, as demonstrated by our Audience Award winners The First Grader and Grandma, A Thousand Times. Like many of our films, the winners skillfully provoke thought and emotion, and their wholly original stories help bridge diverse cultures. DTFF is now not only a destination festival in this region but also a spectacular platform for Arab and international cinema.”

The second Doha Tribeca Film Festival was held October 26-October 30 2010, and featured a diverse selection of 51 feature films from the Middle East and 35 countries around the world.  The roster of celebrities and notables who were in town for DTFF included Robert De Niro, Salma Hayek Pinault, Kevin Spacey, Freida Pinto, Mira Nair, Paula Wagner, Reem Acra, Nitin Sawhney, Najwa Najjar, Harvey Weinstein, Julian Schnabel, Randall Wallace, Andrew McCarthy, opening night film director Rachid Bouchareb (Outside the Law), Yasmine Al Massri, Adel Imam, Rula Jebreal, Alexander Siddig, Carmen Lebbos and Peter Webber,  and globally renowned French photographer Brigitte Lacombe and filmmaker Marian Lacombe. . .

The festival held numerous free public community screenings and frequently sold out events. Outstanding attendance was exemplified by a Family Day which attracted thousands..

>Arab Film Competition: Best Arab Filmmaker

Balls (Farsan), directed by Josef Fares, screenwriters Josef Fares, Torkel Petersson.  (Sweden) – Feature Narrative

Middle Eastern earthiness meets Scandinavian sweetness in this comedy by acclaimed Lebanese-Swedish director Josef Fares, whose half-dozen films over the past decade have been international festival favorites. In his latest cinematic culture clash, Fares features his actual father as a lonely widower slowly making his way back onto the dating scene, with amusing, endearing results.

Cast: Torkel Petersson, Jan Fares, Hamadi Khemiri, Juan Rodriguez, Anita Wall, Nina Zanjani, Jessica Forsberg

Arab Film Competition: Best Arab Film

Hawi, directed and written by Ibrahim El Batout.  (Egypt, Qatar) – Feature NarrativeA prisoner is released on a mission to retrieve a set of documents. A man roams the city streets towing his sickly horse behind him. A group of songwriters gathers to compose. In this portrait of modern Alexandria, themes of human loss and displacement take center stage in place of a clearly defined story arc.

Cast: Hanan Youssef, Sherif El Dessouki, Mohamed El Sayed, Fady Iskandar, Rina Aref, Massar Egbary Band

Arab Film Competition: Special Jury Mention

Audience Award: Best Documentary

Grandma, A Thousand Times (Teta, Alf Marra), directed by Mahmoud Kaabour.  (UAE, Qatar, Lebanon) – Feature Documentary

This personal documentary puts a feisty Beiruti grandmother at the center of brave film exercises designed to commemorate her many worlds. With great intimacy, the film documents her larger-than-life character as she struggles to cope with the silence of her once-buzzing house and imagines what awaits her beyond death.

Featuring: Teta Fatima Kaabour

Audience Award: Best Narrative

The First Grader, directed by Justin Chadwick, screenwriter Ann Peacock.  (U.K.) – Feature Narrative

The inspirational story about an elderly farmer in a Kenyan village who wants to enroll in a local school and learn to read, this charming film features an outstanding performance by Naomie Harris as a skeptical teacher as well as Oliver Litondo as the octogenarian student.

Cast: Naomie Harris, Oliver Musila Litondo

Best Arab Short Film

Missing (Khaberni Ya Taer), directed by Sirwar Zirkly.  (Syria)

A TV show called “Missing” is tasked with finding a viewer’s sister, but when she is discovered the brother kills her live on the air. This Arabic drama with English subtitles packs a strong message in little more than 16 minutes.

via press release

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