Zagros scoops the Grand Prix for Best Film at the Film Fest Gent
by Aurore Engelen
- The feature debut by Sahim Omar Kalifa has taken home the Grand Prix from the Belgian gathering, making it the first Flemish film to win the award since the festival was founded
Zagros [+see also:
interview: Sahim Omar Kalifa
film profile], the feature debut by Belgian-Kurdish director Sahim Omar Kalifa, picked up the Grand Prix for Best Film on Friday night during the closing ceremony of the Film Fest Gent – a first for a Flemish film. The only other Belgian movie to have won this award was La Partie d’Echecs by Yves Hanchar, back in 1994.
This is not the first accolade for Sahim Omar Kalifa, as not only did he win one of the prestigious Wild Cards from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund for his graduation film, but also, two of his short films (Baghdad Messi and Bad Hunter) were shortlisted for the Oscars, no less. His feature has thus received distribution support to the tune of €20,000, as well as a media campaign worth €25,000.
Zagros follows the doomed fate of a couple. Havin, the young wife of Zagros, a Kurdish shepherd, is accused of adultery. Together with her small daughter, Rayhan, she flees Kurdistan and heads to Belgium. Convinced she is innocent, Zagros decides to join her in Belgium so that they can try to start a new life together. But in Brussels, it turns out that Havin has not been entirely truthful, and Zagros begins to doubt her. He is forced to choose between his love for his wife and his family’s honour – a decision that becomes more and more difficult as time goes on, and which will gradually see Zagros sink into the depths of despair.
The Award for Best European Short Film was bestowed upon My Second Eye, a German animated film by Ahmad Saleh. Mary by Juraj Primorac picked up a Special Mention.
The Film Fest Gent will celebrate its 45th edition from 9-19 October next year.
Here is the full list of winners:
Award for Best European Short Film
My Second Eye - Ahmad Saleh (Germany)
Mary - Juraj Primorac (Croatia)
Award for Best Belgian Student Film
Croisé - Elke Vanoost (Belgium)
Audience Award for Best Short Film
Sons of No One - Hans Vannetelbosch (Belgium)
(Translated from French)
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