Iraq war pic wins Alhambra

'Ezra' takes silver

GRANADA, Spain  — Iraq war drama “Crossing the Dust” won the top Golden Alhambra at the first edition of the Granada Film Festival Cines del Sur, which closed Sunday.

Produced, written and directed by Iraqi-born filmmaker Shawkat Amin Korki, “Crossing the Dust” narrates the story of a young boy, lost in Iraq during the American invasion in 2003, who is found by two Kurdish soldiers.

The prize is worth Euros 50,000 ($67,300) for the pic’s producer. “Dust” also took the Bronze Alhambra prize ($26,920), earmarked for the film’s distribution in Spain.

Nigerian helmer Newton I. Aduaka won the Silver Alhambra nod ($40,380) for best director for European-African co-production “Ezra,” a drama about a child soldier in Sierra Leone.

 Granada’s fest jury, headed by Iranian helmer Jafar Panahi, also awarded Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Indian-set adventure “Scream of the Ants” with a special prize.

Granada Film Festival showcases pics from continents in the southern hemisphere — Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Pics playing in its official section were Spanish premieres. Only Paz Encina’s “Hamaca paraguaya,” handled by Nirvana, had guaranteed distribution in Spain among the 14 competish contenders, despite the fact that some titles came from top-notch Euro sales agents, such as Wild Bunch or The Match Factory.

“One of our challenges for the next edition is to host some international premieres,” Granada’s fest director Jose Sanchez-Montes told Daily Variety.

On Friday, Sanchez-Montes presented the Declaration of Granada, which he co-signed with representatives of Asian, African and Latin American fests such as the Pusan Intl. Fest, the Huelva Ibero-American Festival, Havana’s Festival of New Latin American Cinema, the Kerala Intl. Fest and Paris’ Arab Film Biennial.

The network will promote the interchange of film titles among its members, create a Cines del Sur slot in other festivals beyond Granada and launch co-production fund, according to Sanchez-Montes.

The Granada Film Festival Cines del Sur ran June 9-17.

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