Ibrahim El Batout’s Hawi has taken the prize for Best Arab Film at the second Doha Tribeca Film Festival.
Doha, which has been named the Arab Capital of Culture for 2010 by UNESCO, launched the film festival last year in conjunction with New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. It aims to showcase international films with a political edge and to shine a spotlight on Arab cinema.
A portrait of modern Alexandria, Hawi depicts the themes of human loss and displacement.
Acclaimed Lebanese-Swedish director Josef Fares, whose half-dozen films over the past decade have been international festival favourites, won the award for Best Arab Filmmaker. His film, Balls (Farsan), features his actual father as a lonely widower slowly making his way back onto the dating scene.
Justin Chadwick’s The First Grader and Mahmoud Kaabour’s Grandma, A Thousand Times won the awards for Best Narrative Film and Best Documentary Film at the festival, which closed on Saturday night.
The First Grader tells the story of an elderly farmer in a Kenyan village who wants to enrol in a local school and learn to read.
Grandma, A Thousand Times documents the larger-than-life character of a feisty Beiruti grandmother as she struggles to cope with the silence of her once-buzzing house and imagines what awaits her beyond death.
The prize for Best Arab Short Film went to Sirwar Zirkly’s Missing.
The five-member DTFF jury consisted of Arab actress Yosra, Salma Hayek Pinault, Nick Moran, Bavna Talwar and Danis Tanovic.