Films focused on Palestine, Egypt and three UAE co-productions included
Zelal, a co-production of the UAE, Egypt, France and Morocco, won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Documentary at DIFF 2010, and is a hard-hitting reportage on the lives of people afflicted by mental illness in Egypt today. Filmed in two large asylums, the film reveals the horrific conditions in which patients are expected to live - squalor and neglect is endemic, staff members are stretched beyond breaking point, therapy and treatment seems non-existent.
Co-produced by UAE, USA and The Netherlands, This is My Picture When I Was Dead won the Muhr Arab Documentary First Prize at DIFF 2010. The documentary is about Bashir, now 29 years old, who digs through his past to find his true life after the press reported that he was killed as a four-year-old during the assassination of his father, a top Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) lieutenant. The film is highly original, often surreal and a truly novel experimentation.
Both Zelal and This is My Picture when I was Dead were co-produced by the Festival’s Enjaaz post-production fund, and participated in DIFF’s Dubai Film Connection and Dubai Filmmart.
An entry from Cameroon, Koundi and the National Thursday won the Special Jury prize at the Muhr AsiaAfrica documentary segment at DIFF. It depicts the life of villagers in Koundi, which is rich in timber. Gorgeously shot, the documentary is a heartfelt look at life inside a communal society that seeks to balance the demands of globalisation and the search for uniquely African solutions.
A co-production of UAE, UK and India, Love Arranged is about Divya and Neha, two internationally educated, beautiful Indian women, who prefer taking the arranged marriage route despite being daughters of love marriages. Sharing their humorous yet humbling journey to find ‘a suitable boy’, the documentary reveals a socio-cultural fabric still stained with dowry, colour and communal discrimination.
The Hot Docs festival will be held until May 8, 2011, and includes more than 150 cutting-edge documentaries from around the globe.
The seventh edition of the Dubai International Film Festival screened 157 films from 57 countries. DIFF 2010 included 41 world premieres, 13 international premieres, 58 Middle East premieres and 32 Gulf premieres. Nearly half of the films – 70 – were from the Arab world.