Banner from the official Facebook page, January 29, 2018 –Facebook/ismailiafilmfestival2015
CAIRO – 21 April 2018: The winners of the 20th Ismailia Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts have been announced following the festival's end on April 17; it started on April 11.
As its name suggests, the festival is dedicated to showcasing a wide variety of documentaries and short films from all over the world, ranging from unique dramas to creative documentaries and animation. Awards were given out at the closing ceremony, which was held at the Ismailia Culture Palace. According to Ahram Online, the band Life Time and musician Karam Arifa performed at the closing ceremony, singing a variety of national songs, along with a special song written just for the festival, titled "Ahmed Raoul".
Under the Best Documentary category, the award for Best Film went to “Sharp Tools” by Nujoom Al-Ghanem from the UAE. This documentary explores experimental UAE artist Hassan Sharif, a controversial and unique voice of the conceptual art movement who passed away in 2016. It covers his philosophy and why he chose to be part of such a controversial art movement in a country not yet ready for such art revolutions.
The Jury Prize went to the Hungarian film "A Woman Captured" by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, which follows a woman who had been forced into servitude for a decade as a maid for a family, working 20 hours without pay.
A special mention was given to the Austrian/Slovenian documentary "The Family" by Rok Biček, about a man named Matej, who was born into a family with special needs but is perfectly normal himself.
Next up is the Short Documentary Competition, where the Best Film award went to the Serbian film "The Same" by Dejan Petrović, following a group of inmates in a Serbian prison. The Jury Prize went to “Arabic Secret” by Julia Groszek from Poland, which follows an Arab man living in Poland who wishes to meet his father, famous Arab folk musician Illham Al Madfai, for the first time.
In the Short Fiction Competition, Greek film "The Ticket" by Haris Stathopoulos took home the Best Film award, with the Jury Prize going to "Facing Mecca" by Jan-Eric Mack from Switzerland. “The Ticket” is a tale about the Greek economic crisis told through the perspective of a ticket passed down through various hands, each struggling with their own unique tales. "Facing Mecca" follows a Syrian refugee attempting to give his wife a proper Muslim burial after she passes away from cancer, but he hits some obstacles.
For the Animation Competition, Kuwaiti film “Naqla” by Youssef Abd-Elamir El-Baqshy won the Best Film award. This tragic film follows a young orphan living through a war with his mother. Faced with a disability, he plans to put an end to all his pain; however, paranormal events begin to occur. The Jury Prize went to "Airport", a Slovakian/Croatian production by Michaela Muller, which focuses on the state of airports in the uneasy modern climate.
Finally, under the Student Competition, the Best Short Film award went to “Like the Sun” by Hana Mahmoud from the American University in Cairo, while “Voy” by Alaa Helaly of Cairo University received the Best Documentary award. “Naqla” also won the Best Arab Film award, while the Critics Jury Prize went to the short documentary “One Day in Aleppo” by Ali Ibrahim from Syria.