- Middle East/North Africa
The jury of the 9th Dubai International Film Festival announced on Sunday this year’s winners of the Muhr Awards, which included Egyptian star Amr Waked, actress Aida El Kashef film, editor Dina Farouk and filmmaker Ahmed Ibrahim.
The Muhr Awards were established in 2006 to honor filmmakers from the Arab world, and were expanded to include the Asia-Africa competition in 2007. This year 83 films competed for over USD600,000 in prize money.
Waked won Best Actor in the Muhr Arab Feature category for his performance in Ibrahim Batout’s “Winter of Discontent” which had its world premiere at the 69th Venice Film Festival earlier this year. In Batout’s fourth feature, Waked is one of three main characters — a software and media professional who gets entangled in politics — who the film follows before Egypt’s iconic 18 days of protests.
Kashef was awarded Best Actress in the Muhr Asia-Africa Feature category for her role in the Indian production “Ship of Theseus,” directed by Anand Gandhi. In the film, Kashef plays the role of a celebrated experimental photographer, who also grapples with issues of authorship and subjectivity in art. “Ship of Theseus” previously won a Special Mention from the Sutherland Award Jury at 56th BFI London Film Festival.
Editor Farouk was awarded the Special Jury Prize for her work on filmmaker Nadine Khan’s 2012 “Chaos, Disorder.” The film follows two protagonists who live in a chaos-filled community next to a garbage dump where their basic needs are barely met, uncovering troubled relationships, decaying love and a feverish competition.
“Noor,” a film by director Ibrahim about thirteen-year-old Fingo who wants to decorate his neighborhood during Ramadan, received the Muhr Short Arab Feature award.
One hundred and fifty-eight films from 60 countries were screened in this year’s edition of the festival, which also honored veteran Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdel Aziz and renowned British director Michael Apted with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Masoud Amralla al-Ali, DIFF’s artistic director, commented on the awards saying: “The field this year was incredibly strong, and our juries had a very difficult time selecting the finalists. We at DIFF are proud to announce this year’s winners and look forward to following their illustrious careers for years to come.”