The third Amman International Film Festival concluded on Wednesday with an award ceremony celebrating some of the most impressive films in its programme.
The Black Iris Awards was held at The Royal Film Commission — Jordan in the presence of Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Princess Rym Ali, the festival’s president. The ceremony honoured several films across three Arab categories. An international section also gave festivalgoers the chance to vote for their favourite foreign film.
Soula by Algerian filmmaker Salah Issaad won the Black Iris Award for Best Arab Feature-Length Narrative. Eleven films were competing in the category. The award was supplemented by a cash prize of $20,000.
The jury, which comprised director Nadine Khan, film critic Luciano Barisone and the novelist Samiha Khrais, also gave a special mention to the Somali film The Gravedigger’s Wife by Khadar Ahmed.
Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege) by Palestinian-Syrian filmmaker Abdallah Al-Khatib won in the Feature-Length Arab Documentary category, in which seven films were competing. The jury for the $15,000 award consisted of film producer Irene Challand, editor Phil Jandaly and director Aseel Mansour.
The Special Mention went to Take Me to the Cinema by Iraqi filmmaker Albaqer Jafeer. The Blue Inmates by Lebanese director Zeina Daccache also received a Special Mention for its editor Myriam Geagea.
My Mother’s Voice by Mourad Hamla won the $5,000 award for Best Arab Short Film, for which 14 works were competing. The jury — composed of actress Carmen Lebbos, director Ameer Fakher Eldin and screenwriter Nadia Eliewat — awarded a Special Mention to The Mission by Jordanian filmmaker Mohammad Dabbas.
French director Florence Miailhe’s animation The Crossing was voted by the audience as the winner of the Best International Film Award. Nine films from beyond the Arab world were competing for the $5,000 award.
The Amman International Film Festival, which began on July 20, screened 49 narrative and documentary films from more than two dozen countries, most of which are from the Arab world. The films were screened across three locations in Amman, including the Drive-in cinema in the Abdali area, specially built for the festival, as well as the open-air theatre at the Royal Film Commission — Jordan and Taj Cinemas.
“We are happy with the cultural hype it generated in the country,” Nada Doumani, the festival’s director, said during the ceremony.
“The festival didn’t only build bridges between its guests but also between cinema professionals and the public at large. The festival is an incubator for talents and different narratives which speak to our minds and emotions.”