All the Winners of Middle East Now 2022

Here are all the prizes awarded during the Closing Night, Sunday 9 October, at the Cinema La Compagnia:

“Middle East Now Audience Award 2022”
DAUGHTERS OF ABDUL-RAHMAN (Jordan, 2021) by Zaid Abu Hamdan

“Best Film from Iran and Afghanistan 2022” in memory of Felicetta Ferraro
ALONG THE WAY (Iran, Turkey, 2022) by Mijke de Jong

“Best OFF Award” to the best arthouse short film 
BEIRUT DREAMS IN COLOR (Egypt, Lebanon, 2022) by Michael Collins

“BEST SHORT” Staff Award  
WARSHA (Lebanon, France, 2022) by Dania Bdeir.

“Middle East Now Festival Special Mention”
A WORLD WAR III (Iran, 2022, 107’) by Houman Sayyedi

The Middle East Now AUDIENCE AWARD 2022, for best film voted by the public, went to DAUGHTERS OF ABDUL-RAHMAN (Jordan, 2021, 112 ′), an extraordinary first feature film by the young director Zaid Abu Hamdan, presented in Italian premiere at the festival, which thrilled the audience of this edition.

The Best Film from Iran and Afghanistan 2022, awarded in memory of Felicetta Ferraro, went to ALONG THE WAY (Iran, Turkey, 2022 80 ‘) by Dutch director Mijke de Jong, a film starring the 19-year-old Afghan twins Zahra and Fatimah, who lose their family on the border between Turkey and Iran, and to survive in a hostile world of smugglers and drug dealers have to face choices and dilemmas that strain their symbiotic relationship and conscience.
The jury awarded the film with the following motivation:
“Without hiding the difficulties, the brutality, the dangers and the loneliness that characterize the migratory path, the film gives us with a discreet and impartial look the story of two young Afghan twins who cross Turkey from Iran to land in Greece, in waiting to be reunited with their family in Holland. An epic tale in which one reaches the goal   ̶ whenever possible   ̶ profoundly changed, not only for the conditions of the journey, but also for the long time it took. Admirable in this story is the absence of stereotypes, such as that of the veiled Afghan woman, passive and dominated by the male gender, unable to decide on her own destiny. The facts are lined up, as they are presented, without rhetoric and without pressure, helping the audience to immerse in the dramatic reality of those who flee in search of a better world ”.

The Best OFF Award for best short film given by OFF Cinema went to BEIRUT DREAMS IN COLOR (Egypt, Lebanon 2022, 28′) by Michael Collins.
“For the courage to tell a difficult and necessary story in this historical moment. We have chosen to award a documentary that tells the evolution and struggle of the LGBT + community in the Middle East over the last decade, with great delicacy and empathy, through the painful but at the same time joyful lens of one of the best musical bands in the region. ”

Furthermore, OFF Cinema, wanted to assign a Best OFF Special Mention to THE BARTER (Iran, 2021, 20 ‘) by Ziba Karamali and Emad Araad: “a portrait of an intimate family – which in many ways could take place anywhere in the world – offers a powerful reflection on secrecy, the truth (or truths) and the fear of being exposed, at a particularly important moment for Iran ”.

And then the BEST SHORT Staff Award to the best short or medium-length film awarded by the festival staff: this edition went to the beautiful WARSHA by Dania Bdeir (Lebanon, France, 2022, 16 ‘).

At this 13th edition, the festival extraordinarily awarded a Middle East Now festival Special Mention, the special mention assigned by the artistic direction and the selection committee, which went to WORLD WAR III by Houman Sayyedi (Iran, 2022, 107 ‘).
The motivation was as follows: “for the originality of a subject capable of broadening the horizon of a private history, which becomes an instrument of universal understanding of the balance of power between men, and of compassion towards the moral implications that it entails . Because perhaps, never as today, it is necessary for fiction, and therefore cinema, to take charge of the story of an increasingly unreal and unjust present on a global level, speaking aloud, just like Houman Seyyedi does in his beautiful film