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9th Al Jazeera Documentary Film Fest Awards Go To Arab Spring-Centered Films

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by Tambay A. Obenson
April 25, 2013 12:52 PM
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Mai Iskander's 'Words of Witness'
Mai Iskander's 'Words of Witness'

The 9th Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival ended on Sunday In Doha, with its top award, the Golden Award for feature-length film went to Pary el-Qalqili's first feature-length documentary The Turtle's Rage, which follows the director as she goes in search of her Palestinian father's story and why he left her when she was just 12 years old to return to Palestine.

The film was shot in Berlin, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, and Israel over the course of a year, and was produced by the Munich Film and Television School, Bavarian Television, ARTE, and Kaissar Film.

Secondly, all 3 Al Jazeera Documentary Channel awards went to films set during the 2011 uprisings in Egypt and Yemen.

New York-based Egyptian filmmaker Mai Iskander picked up one of those awards for her second documentary Words of Witness, which made its world premiere at the 2012 Berlinale, and follows 22-year-old Egyptian journalist Heba Afify as she covers news after the fall of Mubarak

Words of Witness was made in association with the Cairo-based Birthmark Films and the Chicken and Egg Pictures film fund for women filmmakers, which we continue to highlight on this blog.

Also Egyptian brothers Ahmed and Ramadan Salah picked up an award for their frontline documentary about the clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo in November 2011, titled Eyes of Freedom, Street of Death.

Finally, in the short film category, Yemeni filmmaker Sara Ishaq received an award for her 26-minute documentary Karama Has No Walls, which tells the story of a turning point in the Yemeni revolution, when, on March 18, 2011, pro-government snipers shot 53 protesters in the Yemeni capital Sana'a.

Ishaq is currently working on her second documentary Fatherland, for which she has received a grant from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.

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