ADFF Announces Winners of 2010 Black Pearl Awards

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ADFF Announces Winners of 2010 Black Pearl Awards

Narrative Feature Competition 2010

The jury for the Narrative Feature Competition awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Best Narrative Film ($100,000)
SILENT SOULS (Ovsyanki), directed by Aleksei Fedorchenko (Russia), “for its poetic depiction of the echoes of a cultural heritage for the people of today and for the excellence of its cinematic language”.

Silent_Souls 1Silent Souls

Best Narrative Film from the Arab World ($100,000)
HERE COMES THE RAIN (Shatti Ya Dini), directed by Bahij Hojeij (Lebanon)

Best Actor ($25,000)
in Never Let Me Go, directed by Mark Romanek (United Kingdom/USA)

Best Actress ($25,000)
in Incendies, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Canada/France)

Jury Special Mention
, directed by Olivier Assayas (France/Germany), “for rendering the complex portrait of an era, a region, and a controversial character”.

The Jury
Luis Puenzo,
Director/Writer (President)
Faouzi Bensaidi, Director/Actor
Sulaf Fawakherji, Actress
Siddiq Barmak, Director/Producer
Karim Aïnouz, Director/Visual Artist

Documentary Feature Competition 2010

The jury for the Documentary Feature Competition awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Best Documentary ($100,000), shared by
NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (Nostalgia de la Luz), directed by Patricio Guzmán (Chile/Germany/France), “for the originality of its dramatic and cinematic vision, where image and sound are like traces of the mystery of the past present, the secrets of the big bang and the remains of Pinochet’s victims”.


PINK SARIS, directed by Kim Longinotto (United Kingdom/India), “for bringing cinema and real life together to reinforce one another, and for breaking the illusory boundary between documentary and fiction”.

Best Documentary by an Arab Director or Related to Arab Culture ($100,000), shared by

HOMELAND, directed by George Sluizer (Netherlands), “for its dramatic treatment of the lived and cinematic experience of time and cinematic time, the camera’s journey into its memory from 36 years ago until the present, and for drawing a tragic portrait of the Palestinian dispersal”.


WE WERE COMMUNISTS (Sheoeyin Kenna), directed by Maher Abi Samra (Lebanon/France/United Arab Emirates), “for its attempt to unlock time and its multiplicity, exploring past and present to uncover meaning and intention”.

Jury Special Mentions
TEARS OF GAZA (Gazas Tårer), directed by Vibeke Løkkeberg (Norway), and

HOW BITTER MY SWEET! (Bahebbak Ya Wahsh!), directed by Mohamed Soueid (Lebanon)

The Jury
Ossama Mohammed, Director (President)
Louie Psihoyos, Director
Samir, Director/Producer
Salah Marei, Art Director
Behrooz Hashemian, Producer

New Horizons / Afaq Jadida Competition 2010

Held for the first time this year, New Horizons / Afaq Jadida focuses on the work of first- and second-time directors.

The jury for the New Horizons / Afaq Jadida Competition awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Best Narrative Film by a New Director ($100,000)
GESHER, directed by Vahid Vakilifar (Iran), “for his universal cinematic vision and unique direction, transforming a cruel reality into sensual, visually choreographed, unforgettable tableaux”.

Best Narrative Film by a New Director from the Arab World ($100,000)
OK, ENOUGH, GOODBYE (Tayeb, Khalas, Yalla), directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia (Lebanon/United Arab Emirates), “for its metamorphosis of the banality of the everyday into a realm of poetic depth and a most welcome discovery of two brilliant new talents”.

Best Documentary by a New Director ($100,000), shared by
EL AMBULANTE, directed by Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich (Argentina), “for its honest and humanist approach, documenting a rare story of a man who turns his back on commercial filmmaking for profit, and travels inland to marginalized communities to make films reminding us why, and for whom, films are made”.


BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK, directed by Richard Press (USA), “for a graceful, exuberant and beautifully constructed portrait of a visionary, which shows us the humanity and integrity of a unique and sensitive man whose work takes us beyond the seemingly superficial gloss of fashion to reveal the joy of individual style”.

Best Documentary by a New Director from the Arab World
Jury Special Mention ($25,000)

LIVING SKIN (Jeld Hayy), directed by Fawzi Saleh (Egypt), “for a promising, uninhibited and passionate director, who took us on a poignant journey into the dire living and working conditions of laboring children”.

The Jury would like to note that the work of such funding initiatives as SANAD Film Fund and AFAC (The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture) is nurturing talent, which will bear fruit for the future of Arab filmmaking. So we are recommending that part of the award money in this category be allocated into the SANAD fund to continue its work supporting New Arab documentary filmmakers.

The Jury
Elia Suleiman, Director (President)
Khaled Abol Naga, Actor/Producer
Nandana Sen, Actress
Lita Stantic, Producer
Debra Zimmerman, Distributor

Abu Dhabi Film Festival Audience Choice Award 2010

The Jury

The audience votes for its choice of films in this non-juried competition, which is open to all films in the Showcase section, as well as the Opening Night film.

The Award

ADFF Audience Choice Award ($30,000)
WEST IS WEST, directed by Andy De Emmony (United Kingdom)

Other top vote-getters included:

SECRETARIAT, directed by Randall Wallace (USA)

WOMEN ARE HEROES, directed by JR (France)

KINGS OF PASTRY, directed by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker (France/Netherlands/United Kingdom/USA)

FAIR GAME, directed by Doug Liman (USA/United Arab Emirates)

ADFF NETPAC Award 2010

Founded in 1990, NETPAC has established itself as a leading platform for the discovery and promotion of Asian cinema. The NETPAC Award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival goes to the best Asian film chosen from across all the festival’s sections, chosen by a jury of NETPAC members.

The Jury
Alberto Elena Díaz, Director of Granada Film Festival “Cines del Sur” (President)
Do Kyung Kim, Director
Cuneyt Cebenoyan, Film Critic

The Award
ZEPHYR (Zefir), directed by Belma Baş, (Turkey), “for its very sensitive and restrained telling of a story of loss and growing up, with stunning cinematography“.


The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (formerly the Middle East International Film Festival) was established in 2007, with the aim of helping to create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. The event, presented each October by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) under the patronage of its chairman H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, is committed to curating exceptional programs to engage and educate the local community, inspire filmmakers and nurture the growth of the regional film industry.

As the only Festival in the region where works by Arab filmmakers are represented equally in competition with those by major talents of world cinema, the Festival offers Abu Dhabi’s diverse and enthusiastic audiences a means of engaging with their own and others’ cultures through the art of cinema. At the same time, a strong focus on the bold new voices of Arab cinema connects with Abu Dhabi’s role as a burgeoning cultural capital in the region and marks the Festival as a place for the world to discover and gauge the pulse of recent Arab film.

With the generous support of our sponsors: L’Oréal (Official Beauty Partner); Emirates Palace and InterContinental Hotels (Hospitality Partners); Abu Dhabi Airports Company and Abu Dhabi Media Company (Contributing Sponsors); Robert WAN and CineStar (Official Suppliers); Zee Network, Zee Television, MUBI, Radio 1 and Radio 2 (Media Partners).

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival Press Office is at your disposal for any questions and further information. Email press@adff.aeorcall +971 2 690 8339 / +971 2 690 8340 to find out more.

See official press release.

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