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The UPC Audience Award of the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012 was awarded to Philippe Falardeau’s MONSIEUR LAZHAR (Canada, 2011).

The Dioraphte Award for the highest-scoring film in the audience poll among the seventeen festival films made with support from the Hubert Bals Fund was won by GOODBYE by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof.

The winner of the UPC Audience Award, MONSIEUR LAZHAR, is a film in the spirit of ÊTRE ET AVOIR, in which the Algerian immigrant Lazhar helps a primary school class come to terms with a tragic loss, while benefitting himself from the innocence of the schoolchildren. MONSIEUR LAZHAR, which also took the award for Best Canadian feature film at the Toronto film festival and is in the running for an Oscar for best foreign film, will be given a Dutch theatrical release on 22 March 2012 by Imagine Nederland.

In the Dioraphte Award winner GOODBYE, a young female lawyer tries to leave Iran. This personal, gripping film by Rasoulof, who himself has been the subject of legal persecution in Iran for his films, was made thanks to a contribution from the Hubert Bals Fund.
Other films scoring highly in the audience award poll included Martin Scorsese’s HUGO, DIE UNSICHTBARE by Christian Schwochow (Germany) and the topical documentary BACK TO THE SQUARE by Petr Lom (Norway).

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