The festival concluded this past Saturday with its Award Ceremony. Four awards were given in the categories of Audience Award, Neighboring Nations, Egypt Rising, and Streaming the Revolution. Despite the curfew and continued protests, many people attended the festival and we had a diversity of visions represented in the submissions.
Degrees of Incarceration (2010, 59m, Palestine) by Amalh Bishara & Nidal Al-Azraq won the Audience Award. Not only did this film earn the highest rating among the audience ballots, but it commanded the largest audience affirming the continued poignancy and concern around the Palestinian issue.
Coffee Futures (2009, 22m, Turkey) by Zeynep Devrim Gürsel won the Neighboring Nations Award for the way it creatively combined the poetics of traditional fortune telling with an incisive critique of east/west geopolitics.
Mafrouza (2007-2010, 5-parts, 741m) by Emmanuelle Demoris won the Egypt Rising Award. This 12-hour series lingers with residents of an informal neighborhood built up within the necropolis of Alexandria. The Mafrouza project impressed the jury for its sustained patience and commitment to one localized context and central group of people. Not only does the film series honor the genuineness of the documentary subjects, but it shows the challenges of filming impoverished areas in Egypt. People on screen reveal their suspicions and expressed accussations about focusing on poverty. But this is not the theme of the film despite its unavoidable presence. Instead, Demoris' sincerity and humility endears both the film's subjects and the audience in the end. More than any film in the festival, Mafrouza conveys the relationship between filmmaker and film subject. Demoris' camera becomes another character, providing us with an intimate engagement with the people who shared this documentary experience with her. We as viewers become acquainted with the residents of the Mafrouza neighborhood and the patient lingering allows the pace of life to dictate the pace of the film rather than imposing an estranged editing regime on the lifeworld of these people. Speaking of the digital speed of our Streaming the Revolution program, film critic Gabe Klinger called Mafrouza a “slow digital film” by necessity. Indeed, Mafrouza is a rare filmic experience that shows the great potential of observational cinema that asks audiences to release one's cinematic expectations to the rhythms of another's everyday lived experience.
- MAFROUZA-OH NIGHT! (Mafrouza 1 - 138' – 2007) From a first archeological visit to the discovery of the present life in the neighbourhood.
- MAFROUZA/HEART (Mafrouza 2 - 154' – 2007-2010) Getting closer to people touches the heart and changes the film tonality.
- WHAT IS TO BE DONE? (Mafrouza 3 - 152' – 2010) A mild summer in the neighbourhood.
- THE HAND OF THE BUTTERFLY ((Mafrouza 4 - 142' - 2010) Birth of a baby and engagement of a young girl : the cycle of life.
- THE ART OF SPEAKING (Mafrouza 5 - 155' - 2010) ( Léopard d'Or Cinéastes du Présent du Festival de Locarno) Who will do the Friday preach in the mosque?
Intifadat Intifadat, a collective of filmmakers, won the Streaming the Revolution Award for three videos they submitted. These videos showed an incredible sensitivity with the camera. More than merely scenes of protest, the videos convey a sense of raw emotion. The carnivalesque aesthetics show sophistication with both content and form. These videos demonstrate acute skills in depth of field, composition of shots, and creative editing. The prize was accepted by Jasminah Metwaly. These can be viewed from our website or from their local vimeo address:
- The Downfall of Mubarak (6'23): vimeo.com/20169177
- Torah (5'25): vimeo.com/21000128
- Cairo Intifada (5'59): vimeo.com/19513814