The ninth edition of the Malmö Arab Film Festival concluded on Tuesday, awarding the Egyptian film EXT. Night directed by Ahmad Abdalla El-Sayed, the best feature film, with the festival’s biggest prize of SEK 20,000.
Main actors Sherief El-Desouky and Mona Hala received the award. The jury of feature films, made up by actress Laila Eloui, critic Qais Qasem, and director Ridha Behi, gave the Best Director award to Lebanese Bahij Hojeij for his film Good Morning, and the Best Screenplay award to the film Screwdriver by Palestinian director Bassam Jarbawi.
As for the two awards in acting, Tunisian star Ahmed Hafiane won the Best Actor award for his role in the film Fatwa by Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud, while Moroccan actress Fatima Atif won Best Actress award for her role in The Healer by Mohamed Zineddaine.
In the short film competition, the jury, composed of producer Layaly Badr, critics Waleed Seif and Nabil Hajji, awarded the best short film prize of SEK 10,000 to the Tunisian film Brotherhood by Meryam Joobeur. The best short film director with SEK 5,000 also went to the Tunisian film Sheikh’s Watermelon by Kaouther Ben Hania, and a special mention went to the film The Sparrow directed by Nasri Hajjaj.
The prizes of the feature documentary competition were decided by a jury composed of director Mai Masry, critic Tarek Ben Chaabane, and director of the Tripoli Film Festival Elias Khlat. The Best Documentary award of SEK 15,000 went to the Lebanese film Erased, Ascent of the Invisible by Director Ghassan Halwani, while Sarah Kaskas won the best director for her film Underdown, and a special mention went to the Sudanese film Khartoum Offside by Marwa Zein.
The Audience Choice award presented by the Culture Office in Malmö went to the Egyptian film The Guest by Hadi El-Bagoury.
Al-Nahar newspaper award, whose jury consisted of critics Adnan Hussien Ahmed, Mustafa Kaoud, and Marwa Abu Eish, went to Screwdriver.
The festival closing film was Youm w Leila (One Day One Night) by Ayman Makram, produced by Dar Al-Maraia and starring Khaled El-Nabawy, Dora, Ahmed El-Fishawy, and Hanan Motawea
The festival kicked off Friday evening (October 4th) in the Swedish city of Malmö, with a large presence of Arab stars, directors, and film professionals.
On the opening red carpet, which was held in front of the historic Malmö Municipality building, the festival’s guests, including Egyptian stars Shereen Reda, Asser Yassin, Mona Hala, Palestinian director Mai Masri, Tunisian director Najib Belkadi, and others, were welcomed by the Mayor of Malmo Carina Nilsson at a dinner at the Royal Hall.
The festival’s Founder and President Mouhamad Keblawi delivered a speech in which he expressed his delight at the successful steps taken by the festival. “MAFF also took steps to support Arab cinema through launching MAFF Market Forum fund, and through the distribution of Arab films in Swedish theatres,” he said.
The ceremony also witnessed handing the guest of honour tribute to Tunisian cinema, with a shield received by Karima Amirat, representative of the Tunisian National Centre of Cinema and Image, as well as a tribute to the name of the late producer Nejib Ayed, director of Carthage Film Festival, received by Lamia Guiga, artistic director of Carthage Festival.
This edition saw the opening of the fifth edition of the Malmo Market Forum, the industry arm of the festival, with the panel “Tunisian cinema between the past and the present,” where Tunisian academic experts Tarek Ben Chaabane and Salim Ben Cheikh spoke. The panel was moderated by critic Ahmed Shawky.
Following the panel, the pitching sessions of MAFF Market Forum Fund projects started. Competing for valuable prizes, film professionals attended the pitching of three documentary projects in the development phase, followed by five feature film projects also under development.