A shot from Bulgarian-French film A Life Like Any Other of director Faustine Cros that won the Best Long Documentary Award at the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts (IIFF) concluded Monday 20 March 2023 in Ismailia, Egypt
The closing ceremony of the IIFF, which took place over the course of one week in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, was attended by dozens of filmmakers and cultural figures.
The Bulgarian-French film A Life Like Any Other from director Faustine Cros clinched the Best Long Documentary Award, while Iraq's Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez won the second-place award for My Lost Country. Notes on Displacement from Palestinian director Khaled Jarrar received a special mention.
The Netherlands’ ‘Neighbour Abdi from director Douwe Dijkstra won Best Short Documentary Award while Algeria’s Tahrouh won the second-place award.
The documentary competitions were judged by German filmmaker Cécile TolluPolonowski, South Korean Visual artist Kyung Hwa Lee, Jordanian filmmaker Mais Darwazah, as well as professors Majid Movasseghi (Switzerland) and Salma Mubarak (Egypt).
The Malaysian film Please Hold the Line from director won Best Short Narrative Film Award, while Mongolia's Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir’s Snow in September won the second place and the Chinese film Will You Look at Me received a special mention.
Iranian Sarah Saidan won Best Short Animation award for Home of Heart, while Egypt's Mohamed Omar won second-place award for Kenopsia and Switzerland’s Claudius Gentinetta’s Think Something Nice received a special mention.
The feature and animation film competitions’ jury comprised Latvian animator Signe Baumane, French film festival expert Anne Sophie Jacques, Greek film festival expert Vassilis C. Karamitsanis, Algerian film festival expert Nabila Razaig, and Egyptian filmmaker Nadine Khan.
In addition to workshops and seminars, the IIFF screened over 120 films from 50 different countries in its competitions and parallel programmes. Germany was the guest of honour for this edition, which is focused on hybrid films that blend multiple genres.
Late Egyptian filmmaker Samih Mansi, film critic Mahmoud Ali, DOP Mahmoud Abdel-Samie and Irish director Mark Cousins were honoured throughout the festival activities.
Established in 1991, the IIFF is the first festival of its kind in the Arab World. It is organised under the auspices of the culture ministry's National Cinema Centre, which is currently led by film-editor Manar Hosny.
Egyptian critic Essam Zakaria was the president of the festival for the fifth time, taking over from director Saad Hendawy, who led the 23rd edition in 2022. He previously served as the president of the festival for four consecutive editions, from the 19th to the 22nd.