'Recycle,' 'Salt' share top kudos

SAN SEBASTIAN — Mahmoud Al Massad’s “Recycle” and Annemarie Jacir’s “The Salt of this Sea” shared top honors at an upbeat 3rd Cinema in Motion showcase, held Monday at the San Sebastian Festival.

The section offers prizes in post-production aid and finance to films from across the Arab world.

Al Massad came looking essentially for digital-to-film transfer for “Recycle,” a delightfully simple documentary of large resonance.

He got it.

Prizes for “Recycle” ranged from Euros 15,000 ($20,000) in post-production aid from France’s CNC, post-production correction by Mikros Image, digital to 35mm transfer from Swiss Effects and Kodak Swiss, subtitling in French and English from Titra Films, and a 35mm copy from the Fribourg fest.

Presented in rough cut, “Recycle” departs from a simple premise, the daily life of Abu Amar – an ex-mujahideen, now a cardboard collector in Zarqa, Jordon – and produces a documentary about broken dreams, Mid East poverty, so its slippage towards radical religion, or emigration.

Amar begins the film looking like an Arab Francis Ford Coppola, an larger-than-life extrovert with a bushy beard. He dreams of writing books about his experiences as a mujahideen; by day, he drives round Zarqa in a truck hustling for cardboard. But he’s penniless, and has to raise a large family.

The U.S.-Palestine Jacir, one of the rising young woman stars of Mid East film-making, presented 40 minutes of non-consecutive images, at a very early stage of edit.

“Salt” won post-production aid from Morocco’s CCM Film Institute, $20,000 in services from Paris’ Mactari mixing auditorium, and a 35mm copy from the Amiens fest.

Madrid’s Casa Arabe will cover the costs of a subtitled copy in Spanish for “Salt,” “Recycle” and the other two Cinema in Motion featured films: “Nos lieux interdits,” from Morocco’s Leila Kilani, and “Je veux voir,” from Lebanon’s directorial duo, Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas.

The 3rd Cinema in Motion showcase lived up to expectations.

Its industry exec audience doubled from last year. By common consensus, the showcase benefited from focusing on films in post-production rather than pro.

Reactions to all four projects were positive.

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