Tunis festival spotlights women in film
By Mona Yahia for Magharebia from Tunis – 29/09/09
The third annual Tunis International Film Festival came to a close Sunday (September 27th) with an awards ceremony honouring the most outstanding films, directors and actors.
The event paid tribute to women in the arts, lauding directors and actresses and honouring filmmakers who address women's issues such as equality, marriage and work.
"The idea of the festival is great," said one audience member, student Mohieddine Ben Shouikha. "The films that are screened are high-quality. I hope the festival grows even more."
"Tengri: Blue Heavens", a French-German co-production by director Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville, and "Heiran", by Iranian director Shalizeh Arefpour, shared the best film award. The best actress award was given to Catalina Saavedra for her starring role in "La Nana".
Director So Yong Kim of South Korea won the best director award for her film "Treeless Mountain".
The film festival opened with the screening of the Dutch film "Dunya & Desie" by director Dana Nechushtan. The film tells the story of two friends, one Dutch and the other Moroccan, and explores their different views of life and human relationships.
The festival, this year held under the banner "Women, I love you", began Thursday at the Municipal Theatre in Tunis, where stars like Dorra Zarouk, Mouna Noureddine, Claudia Cardinale, Mireille Darc and Liane Foly enjoyed opening-night festivities.
Cardinale said that the festival "is important because women have a strong presence in cinema."
Festival founder and director Nicolas Brochet said that the success of the festival would encourage him to continue organizing it, especially in view of support from Tunisian authorities.
"This edition of the festival pays tribute to women, in recognition of their role in life and society," said Brochet at the opening ceremony.
Brochet said in an interview with AFP that the festival this year was held to honour "creative women, whether actresses, directors, or producers who have directly or indirectly contributed to the seventh art [cinema]." The Tunisian festival "would be an opportunity to share experiences between Tunisian and foreign filmmakers, something that would support the dialogue of civilisations, tolerance and cultural diversity," Brochet added.
This year's film fest featured 20 submissions from 14 Arab and foreign countries. Films from Tunisia, France, Holland, China, Britain, Mexico, Bosnia, Chile, Germany, Afghanistan, Palestine, Korea, Iran and the US were shown during the festival.
Awards were decided by a jury that included Darc, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, Noureddine and Zarouk. The jury members were chosen from all generations and all schools of art, said Zarouk.
The festival's final screening was Tunisian director Raja Amari's "Douaha", which was shown for the first time at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month.
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