Third edition of fest wraps with Besson's 'Lady'

LONDON — Merzak Allouache’s “Normal,” Namir’s Abdel Messeeh’s “The Virgin, the Copts and Me” and Nadine Labaki’s “Where Do We Go Now?” were among prize winners at the third Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which wrapped Saturday night.

“Normal,” a pic about a disillusioned Algerian youth in the wake of the Arab Spring, nabbed the Arab film competition’s best narrative award, while Messeeh’s look at a French-Egyptian filmmaker travelling to Egypt to search for apparitions of the Virgin Mary took best documentary in the Arab competish. Both awards came with a $100,000 cash prize.

Labaki, whose second feature, “Where Do We Go Now?” has been selected as Lebanon’s foreign language Oscar entry, walked away with the audience award for best narrative film at the five-day fest.

Story follows a group of Lebanese women who try to diffuse the tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village.

Morgan Spurlock’s “Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope” won the audience award for best docu. Both pics won $100,000.

Rania Stephan, helmer of “The Three Disappearances of Suad Honsi,” and Roschdy Zem, helmer of “Omar Killed Me,” Egypt’s Oscar hopeful, took prizes for best docu director and best narrative director respectively with both winning $50,000.

“Omar Killed Me” thesp Sami Bouajila won for best performance and took a $15,000 cash prize.

Doha Film Institute exec director Amanda Palmer said, “There are so many prestigious filmmakers here and the reason we have the festival is to discover new talent. We hope these talented people meet each other here and are able to make films together as a result.”

Mohammed Malas, jury prexy of the Arab narrative film competish, said that DTFF was “one of the best festivals to raise the profile of youth cinema, which will create our future.”

Following the closing night pic, Luc Besson’s “The Lady,” Brit popstar Leona Lewis performed to the crowd.

A host of luminaries and filmmakers were in attendance on closing night, including Robert De Niro, founder of Tribeca Enterprises and DFI’s cultural partner, “The Lady” producer Virginie Besson-Silla, jury prexy Mohammad Malas, actresses and jury members Robin Wright and Carmen Lebbos, docu jury prexy Nick Broomfield plus filmmakers Eric Khoo, Jasmila Zbanic, and Hakim Belabbes.

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