The Final Cut initiative, which supports films from Middle Eastern and African countries during their post-production phase, awarded Al Rasheed the prize along with €5,000 ($4,950) on Monday.
The jurors for the 10th year of the initiative included journalist and film critic Claire Diao; author and curator of art and film Rasha Salti; and managing director of True Colours film agency Gaetano Maiorino. They commended Inshallah, a Boy for its “brilliant direction and performances, tackling a really dramatic social issue and for honouring the resilience of women in a conservative context".
The drama centres on housewife and mother Nawal who, while grieving the death of her husband, discovers that she might also lose her home due to inheritance laws. The rules state that if she doesn’t have a son, her husband’s inheritance can be claimed by his family.
“It’s the house that she bought, with her own money,” Al Rasheed told Variety after the ceremony and his win. “These laws were created so long ago and they simply do not apply anymore.”
Inshallah, a Boy, a co-production between Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, was overseen by Rula Nasser from Imaginarium Films, who said: “We are just proud we made something that speaks to people.”
“We are still a conservative society, but this protagonist, this woman, she’s strong. She decides she needs to stand up and say: ‘I have rights too’."
Inshallah, a Boy was also awarded by the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt and the Festival International de Films de Fribourg in Switzerland.
Black Light, directed by actor and director Karim Bensalah, was also awarded by the jurors. The film about an Algerian student living in France and facing deportation was offered €15,000 ($14,824) for colour correction by MAD Solutions, Sub-Ti Ltd and Sub-Ti Access Srl, Rai Cinema and the Red Sea Fund.
Suspended, a documentary by Lebanese director Myriam El Hajj covering people's fight for change in Beirut and across the nation, will also be receiving support from Mactari Mixing Auditorium.
Egyptian documentary Land of Women by Titra Film, directed by Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir, which documents a group of girls who form an all-female street theatre troupe in their conservative Egyptian village, will also be supported by Oticons and MAD Solutions, which will be joining forces to collaborate with the filmmakers.