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BIFF 2012 ends up in Beirut

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info - October 12, 2012, 12h45
Mike Malajalian and Elie Fahed at the closing ceremony of the BIFF 2012 in Beirut.
The 12th Beirut International Film Festival ended up on Thursday, October 11. During the closing ceremony that was held at Planete-Abraj cinema, “Bicycle” by Iraqi director Rizgar Husein won the Gold “Aleph” for Best Middle-Eastern Short Film, while “The Gardner” by Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf won the Best Middle-Eastern Documentary Film Award.
“Bicycle”, which had already won the Best scenario/ Best short film at the Gulf Film Fetstival 2012, is the story of Hajar and Kovanwho gather Pepsi cans from the garbage around the city every day, in order to sell it and gain some money. Hajar’s dream is to have a bicycle and ride it. Later on, he meets Karzan, who has a bicycle. But Karzan is very arrogant.

“La femme aux raisins” by Lebanese director Mike Malajalian, won the Silver “Aleph” for Best Middle-Eastern Short Film. The film tells the story of Sevag, an 8 year old boy, who is playing hide & seek in the garden of the hotel with his friend Maria. While trying to hide in the hotel, he sees a couple going into a room. Intrigued, he takes a look from the keyhole and sees the man laying some grapes on the woman’s belly. After a second encounter with the lady, Sevag becomes obsessed by her.

The Third Prize for Short Films went to “Leftover” by Lebanese director ElhamAbiRached. It’s the story of Samir, a 65 year old man, reminisces the good old days he spent close to his family and friends, only to find out that war in Lebanon has completely changed his world.

“Starring Julia” by Lebanese director ElieFahed, was awarded the Special Jury Award (Orbit Award) for Short Films. It is the story of Julia, a 70 year old lady who decides, one day, to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.

“The Gardener”, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’smost recent creation, which won theBest Middle-Eastern Documentary Film Award,premiered at the 17th Busan International Film Festival, held on October 4 - 13, 2012, and then went on screen in Beirut International Film Festival.The film illustrates the clash between two Iranian generations regarding their perspectives on the positive and negative effects of religion on society. Makhmalbaf and his son, Maysam, represent each of these generations.

Katia Jarjoura was granted the Best Director Award in the Documentary Films Competition for her film “Goodbye Mubarak”, which highlights the latest parliamentary elections in November 2010 and the consequent protests which sparked the revolution of January 25, 2011,whichled to the fall of Mubarak’s regime.

The Special Jury AwardforDocumentary Films was granted to both Amal” by Emirati director Nujoom Al Ghanem, who won the first prize award at the Dubai International Film Festival 2011(Muhr Emirati Competition), and “Eyes on Freedom… Street of Death” by the brother directors Ahmed Salah Sony and Ramadan Salah, which highlights events in Mohamed Mahmoud street on November 18, 2011, when Egyptian political parties protested to demand to speed up the Presidential elections. But, by the end of the day, Police forces attacked the sit-inners. Many protesters lost casualties of the eyes during the attack.

The jury at this year’s festival included film critic and Univeristy teacher Emile Chahine, and Lebanese producer Rita Dagher, who has worked with several American and international directors.

“Société Générale” Award for Public Vote was granted to The Hunt (Jagten) by Dannish director Thomas Vinterberg, starring MadsMikkelsen who won the award for Best Actor at the French Festival,
The Awards distribution ceremony was followeby the screening of “Looper” by Rian Johnson, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. The story of “looper” take place in 2072: when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Joe learnshemightbecome one of the victims.

The 12th Edition of the Beirut International Film Festival kicked off on the 3rd of October at PlaneteAbraj and witnessed the screening of 57 films. The opening film will be “Blind Intersections” by Lebanese director Lara Saba.
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