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Woman wins award for best drama at Saudi Film Festival
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 26 - 02 - 2015


Saeed Haider
Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM — It was a scene cut out from the script of either the Academy Awards function or Cannes Festival and if it sounds a bit of exaggeration then surely it reminded of a glittering award ceremony at Bollywood.
The 600-capacity Hall at the Saudi Art and Culture Center in Dammam on Tuesday night was packed with more than 800 men and women clapping and cheering for the winners of the various categories at the Saudi Film Festival.
The five-day festival, which concluded Tuesday night, was only the second in seven years.
Saudi woman filmmaker Hana Al-Omair took the Golden Palm Tree prize for her drama "Complain" (Shikwah), said Abdullah Al-Eyaf, the head of the festival jury on Wednesday.
Shikwah tells the story of a hospital worker who lodges a complaint against a colleague, an act symbolizing everything wrong in her life.
Al-Omair said she will the prize money of SR180,000 to finance her future project.
Another woman, Shahad Ameen, won second prize in the drama category for "Eye & Mermaid", a fantasy about a girl who discovers her father has tortured a mermaid to extract beautiful black pearls.
Mohanna Abdullah took third place for his film "Adam's Ant", the story of a prisoner who tries to befriend an ant in his cell.
The Golden Palm Tree for best documentary went to Faisal Al-Otaibi for "Grand Marriage". It recounts a two-week wedding ceremony taking place in the Comoros.
In the student category, Mohammed Al-Faraj also earned one of the golden stylized palm tree trophies for "Lost," a documentary about stateless people living in Saudi Arabia.
Abbas Al-Hayek took top prize for best unproduced script.
Over five days of the festival, 66 films were screened and several workshops conducted on various aspects of filmmaking. It brought together acclaimed critics, writers and artists from across the region.
Al-Eyaf hailed the high quality of entries despite several obstacles the participants faced.
Himself a prize-winning film-maker, Al-Eyaf said Saudi Arabia has emerged a winner "for having all this talent".
‎‏Ali Al-Hussein, one of the young directors taking part in the festival, believed there is still plenty of room for improvement.
According to the young filmmaker, more film academies are needed to train and educate those interested in the industry.
Effat University came in for big praise as it is offering courses relevant to film making.
‎‏Ahmad Al-Mulla, director of the festival, expressed his satisfaction over the success of the event and said the youth of today was all set to contribute in this medium of communication. He said that the response to the festival was beyond expectation.


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