FESTIVALS: Annemarie Jacir’s Wajib wins big in Dubai

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Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir’s Wajib was awarded best film and best actor in the Muhr Feature competition at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF, December 6-13).

The best actor award went to Mohammad Bakri and his real-life son Saleh Bakri, who play an estranged father and son brought together to deliver invitations for a family wedding. After premiering in Locarno, the film won a string of awards at the London and Mar del Plata film festivals.

Best non-fiction feature in the Muhr feature competition went to Ziad Khalthoum’s Taste Of Cement, about exiled Syrian construction workers in Lebanon.

The jury prize went to Lebanese filmmaker Lucien Bourjeily for Heaven Without People, while best director went to Algeria’s Sofia Djama for The Blessed. Menha El Batroui won best actress for her role in Egyptian drama Cactus Flower.

In the Muhr Emirati competition, best film went to Nujoom Alghanem for her documentary Sharp Tools, about Emirati artist Hassan Sharif. Best director went to Abdullah Aljunaibi for his thriller Camera, about an investigation into the murder of a young boy by a drug trafficking gang.

Among other awards, Rawia Abdullah was presented with the Emirates’ Ministry of Interior Cinema Award, which came with a cash prize of $100,000, for her project The Contact Line of Domfront.

DIFF wrapped on December 13 with a screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.



Best Fiction Feature: Annemarie Jacir, Wajib

Best Non-Fiction Feature: Ziad Khalthoum, Taste Of Cement

Jury Prize: Lucien Bourjeily, Heaven Without People

Best Director: Sofia Djama, The Blessed

Best Actor: Mohammad Bakri & Saleh Bakri, Wajib

Best Actress: Menha El Batroui, Cactus Flower


Best Feature: Nujoom Alghanem, Sharp Tools

Best Director: Abdullah Aljunaibi, Camera

Best Short: Hana Alshateri & Yaser Al Neyadi, Escape


Best Film: Mahdi Fleifel, A Drowning Man

Jury Prize: Cyril Aris, The President’s Visit


Best Film: Ulaa Salim, Land Of Our Fathers

Jury Prize: Dhyaa Joda, Sabyea

The Emirates NBD People’s Choice Award: Simon Curtis, Goodbye Christopher Robin

Ministry of Interior Award: Rawia Abdullah, The Contact Line Of Domfront

Arab Film Studio Scriptwriting Award: Sajda Almuallemi, Unexpected Holiday

DIFF Young Journalist Award: Sanjay Shankar

People who make a DIFFerence: Zeina Sfeir, Antoine Khalife, Monty Shansez, Basil Sarhan