Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat is the winner the 2016 Director’s Fortnight’s top prize, the Art Cinema Award, at the Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature WOLF AND SHEEP.

In an interview with the Danish Film Institute, Sadat notes that the Danish-produced Wolf and Sheep, was inspired by her feeling of being an outsider during her childhood in a small isolated village in Central Afghanistan. Her goal was to tell a story that doesn’t revolve around war, the election, or other political issues dominating the media, but depicts Afghan everyday life as she knows it.

“When I watched other films about Afghanistan, I always missed something. I know it’s a cliché, but I wanted to show the real Afghanistan. I wasn’t sure how to make a good film, but I knew what I didn’t want to make a film about. Women’s rights, the election and bombings were all on my blacklist. I wanted a local to see it and say, ‘That’s my life’.

“Wolf and Sheep,” takes place in a rural village like the one Sadat grew up in and follows a group of shepherd children in the mountains. The boys practice with their slings to fight wolves, while the girls smoke secretly and play wedding. They gossip about 11-year-old Sediqa, an outsider, whom they think is cursed. Finally, she makes friends with 11-year Qodrat, who becomes a gossip topic, after his mother remarries with an old man with two wives. The story is inspired by a combination of Sadat’s own childhood and the childhood of her best friend, Anwar Hashimi, who lived in the same village before Sadat and had a similar experience of becoming an outsider after his mother remarried.

Winners and Awards of 2016 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight / Quinzaine des Realisateurs

Art Cinema Award to a feature film
“Wolf & Sheep,” dir. Shahrbanoo Sadat

SACD Award to a French-language feature film
“The Together Project” (aka “L’Effet Aquatique”) dir. Solveig Anspach

SACD special mention
“Divines” dir. Houda Benyamina

The Europa Cinemas Label to a European feature film
“Mercenary” (aka “Mercenaire”) dir. Sacha Wolff

Illy Prize to a short film
“Chasse Royal” dirs. Lise Akoka, Romane Gueret

Illy special mention
“The Beast” (aka “Zvir”) dir. Miroslav Sikavica

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