Teemu Nikki’s Venice and Antalya winner “The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic” won the Golden star for best film at the 5th El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt, which wrapped Friday. The award carries a cash prize of $50,000.
The film’s lead Petri Poikolainen won best actor, while Maya Vanderbeque, the young star of “Playground,” won best actress.
Egyptian filmmaker Omar El Zohairy’s Cannes winner “Feathers,” which also won the Variety award at El Gouna earlier, won best Arab narrative film.
Directors Aleksey Chupov and Natasha Merkulova’s “Captain Volkonogov Escaped” won the Netpac award and bronze in the narrative category.
Michel Franco’s “Sundown” won silver in the narrative competition, while Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s “Once Upon a Time in Calcutta” scored a special mention from Netpac.
Mounia Akl’s “Costa Brava, Lebanon” won the FIPRESCI award and the Green Star award for tackling environmental issues.
Directors Svetlana Rodina and Laurent Stoop’s “Ostrov – Lost Island” won the Cinema for Humanity audience award and the silver star for documentary film.
The golden star in the feature documentary competition was won by Renato Borrayo Serrano’s “Life of Ivanna.”
Andrey Natotsinsky’s “Katia” won the golden star for best short, while Ahmed Abdelsalam’s “Cai-Ber” won best Arab short.
Ali El Arabi’s “Captains of Za’atari” won best best Arab documentary film.
The highlight of the ceremony, held at the Festival Plaza, which caught fire on the eve of the festival, was when festival patron Samih Sawiris invited firefighters and behind the scenes staff who worked overnight to make the opening ceremony a reality on stage. They received a standing ovation.
The career achievement award for iconic Palestinian actor Mohammad Bakri was received in his absence by a representative. Bakri had decided not to attend following the deportation of his compatriot Said Zagha.
Post the awards, winners, nominees and festival guests, numbering over a 1000, partied into the night, with the main topic of discussion being which would be the next stop on the fall festival calendar.
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