Bensaidi feature wins films, director prizes

Moroccan film “WWW: What a Wonderful World,” by Faouzi Bensaidi, won the film and director awards at the 23rd Alexandria Film Festival, with 11 films competing and 45 films participating.

Organized by the Egyptian Assn. of Film Writers and Critics, the event has overcome government and budgetary obstacles to find its focus highlighting films from the Mediterranean region.

The international jury headed by Tunisian director Nouri Bouzid awarded the directorial debut prize to Michel Kammoun for his Lebanese film “Falafel.”

The Information Ministry prize went to Egypt pic “Cut and Paste,” by Hala Khalil, and the critics org tipped vet director Mohamed Khan for his hit film “In the Heliopolis Flat.”Algeria was the highlighted country at the event, with a screening of Gillo Pontecorvo’s “Battle of Algiers” (1966) and Barbet Schroeder’s doc “The Terror’s Advocate” on Jacques Verges — the controversial lawyer who defended unpopular figures such as Algerian rebel Djamila Bouhired and latter married her. Four Algerian films preemed: Bachir Derrais’ “Ten Million Centime,” Nasser Bakhti’s “Night Shadows” Okasha Touita’s “Morituri” and Mohamed Chouikh’s “Hamlet of Women.” Together with four Moroccan films, they added North African flavor to the fest, which ran Sept. 7-11.

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