DIFF picks Bouajila for lifetime honor
Budding director from UAE scoops top prize in Image Nation
DUBAI, Nov 11: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) revealed that Sami Bouajila, the award-winning French-Tunisian actor, will be the recipient of this year’s prestigious Arab Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing his incredible contributions to cinema. Bouajila is an internationally acclaimed actor whose impressive filmography spans three decades and boasts an incredible forty titles. The actor is set to receive the accolade amongst the Arab and international film community at the 12th edition of DIFF, Dec 9-16, 2015.
Sami Bouajila is renowned for his eclectic range of starring roles and is best known for his award-winning performances in ‘Les Temoins’ for which he won the Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2008, and ‘Indigenes’ where he received the award for Best Male Interpretation at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. His award-winning legacy dates back to 2000 when he was named Best Young Actor for ‘Drole de Felix’ at Festival du film romantique de Cabourg. The 49-year-old has come a long way since his first acting role, working his way into the leading role for the 2011 French crime-drama “Omar Killed Me”, where he plays a falsely accused gardener convicted of murdering his elderly employer.
Dedicated DIFF’s Chairman, Abdulhamid Juma remarked on the importance of recognizing those who have dedicated their lives to cinema:
“Sami Bouajila’s film career is a testament to the medium of film, he is admired by audiences around the world for his diverse and compelling choices in film roles throughout his extraordinary career. We are delighted to honour his talents with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival this December.”
Sami Bouajila expressed his happiness upon receiving the news of winning the Lifetime Achievement Award from Dubai International Film Festival, and said: “I am thrilled and honored to receive the Dubai International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and very much looking forward to meeting film industry members of the region.”
DIFF’s Lifetime Achievement Awards are dedicated to honouring the world’s greatest film industry actors, writers, directors and producers. Previous honouree’s include Omar Sharif, Faten Hamamah, Adel Imam, Jameel Rateb, Sabah, Morgan
Freeman, Sean Penn, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Daoud Abdel Sayed, Youssef Chahine, Rachid Bouchareb, SouleymaneCisse, Nabil El-Maleh, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Terry Gilliam, Yash Chopra, SubhashGhai, Michael Apted, and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.
The 12th annual Dubai International Film Festival will take place from Dec 9-16, 2015. For more information and to purchase ticket bundle packages please visit http://dubaifilmfest.com/ en/page/36/10__25_ticket_packages.h tml
Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Middle East, announced the winner of the fourth edition of its short film competition, Arab Film Studio, at an awards ceremony in the capital last night.
OmarAdam, a 23-year old film fan living in Dubai, scooped the top prize for Best Film, as well as Best Editing for his film Five, which follows a young man as he agonizingly waits for important medical test results.
Omar responded “It feels incredible to have won — it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It has been a long but extremely fulfilling journey and I’d like to thank Image Nation and everyone who took
part in Arab Film Studio for the fantastic experience.
“It was definitely a steep learning curve for me, but my skills have improved tremendously and I’ve come out of this program with this amazing knowledge which I know will help me achieve my goal of becoming an accomplished filmmaker.”
A total of five awards were given to winning participants, with fellow competitor Diane Farah winning Best Cinematography and Best Script for her film Among Others, and Lubna Bagsair winning the Grand Jury Prize for her film Astray.
This year’s competition was judged by a panel of industry experts, including Emirati filmmakers, Mohammed Saeed Harib, Ali Mostafa, Majid Al Ansari and Nawaf Al Janahi. From Hollywood, actor David Hasselhoff and producers Laurie Macdonald and Ashok Amrtiraj also helped decide who should be awarded the grand prize.
Emirati director, Majid Al Ansari (Zinzana) was impressed with the creativity of this year’s participants. He said: “I was blown away by the films from this year’s students. Omar is a worthy winner and the film world has some great additions coming its way!”
Arab Film Studio is a short film competition that takes finalists on a six-month filmmaking journey that
mirrors the real process of developing and producing a film. The competition provides all the tools and knowledge a budding filmmaker needs to kick-start a career in film.
The Arab Film Studio was created by Image Nation in 2011 in partnership with two four 54 to develop UAE nationals’ and residents’ filmmaking skills. The programme was expanded to include documentary filmmakers, with the launch of Arab Film Studio Docs earlier this year.
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, said “Arab Film Studio is one of our essential programmes in the development of the region’s filmmakers, and as we can see from this years’ event, the next generation are a promising group. We look forward to working with the participants in the future. They are a talented and inspirational group.”
For winning Best Film, Adam received an exclusive internship opportunity in a national or international production with Image Nation. Past winners of the competition have gone on to screen their films at prominent festivals around the world. A number of participants have gone on to work with Image Nation on some of their biggest films, including the critically acclaimed. He Named Me Malala, which is now screening in selected theatres across the UAE.