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Winning filmmakers – 5th BBC Arabic Festival

The filmmakers

Directors from Tunisia, Iraq, Hungary, Egypt and Lebanon were among those to be recognised this week -27 March 2019- at the BBC Arabic Festival’s fifth annual Award Ceremony which took place at the BBC Radio Theatre in BBC Broadcasting House, London. The winning films explore themes ranging from political satire to a coming-of-age story; revolution to ecological disaster. 

  • Best Feature Documentary was scooped by Amal a multi-award-winning film by Mohamed Siam. Shot over six years this film follows 14-year-old Amal as she grows into adulthood in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution, cutting between unfolding political events and the pivotal changes in Amal’s life.  
  • Best Short Documentarywas won by Koka, the Butcher by Bence Máté.  For the first time, the legendary pigeon races of Cairo are captured on camera and a young pigeon fighter must choose between his lifelong passion and romantic love.  
  • Best in Short Film was awarded to Fadi Baki’s satirical short Manivelle – Last Days of the Man of Tomorrow. Manivelle, an automaton gifted to Lebanon by Charles de Gaulle in 1945, still haunts an abandoned mansion in Beirut. This mockumentary is about a man-robot whose ups and downs reflect those of his country.  
  • Best Topical Short was awarded to Sabeya by Dhyaa Joda. In the summer of 2014, the IS group launched a brutal campaign against the Yazidis in northern Iraq.  Sabeya tells the story of one woman who builds a fort of resilience and wit whilst those around her flee to safety. It is based on a story by Iraqi writer, Hassan Blassim.

This year’s award ceremony was hosted by acclaimed stand-up comedian Wonho Chung. He was joined by judges, including the BBC World Service presenter Jackie Leonard, Amnesty International’s Head of Video, Jim Ward, and Curzon Cinema’s Event Programmer Michael Garrad. Also presenting awards were the BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet and Channel 4 News anchor, Jon Snow. Live music was provided by Palestinian hip-hop crew DAM. Twenty-four films were screened across six days as part of this year’s festival.

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