Dubai festival lauds Algerian ‘Barakat!’

Second prize goes to Lebanon's 'Falafel'

The third Dubai Intl. Fest wrapped Sunday with some surprising winners in its inaugural Muhr Awards for excellence in Arab cinema.

Algerian helmer Djamila Sahraoui’s road movie “Barakat!” took home top prize for Arab feature. Second prize went to Lebanon’s “Falafel” by Michel Kammoun,while Hakim Belabbes’ “Why O’Sea?” came in third.

In the docu section, Tunisia’s Nejib Belkudhi walked away with the gold Muhr for “V.H.S. Kahloucha,” with Yemenite helmer Khadija al Salami’s “Amina” and Syrian helmers Hala al Abdalla and Ammar al Beik’s “I’m the One Who Carries Flowers to Her Grave” in second and third place, respectively.

Much-fancied front-runners “Days of Glory” and “WWW — What a Wonderful World” left empty-handed.

With a total kitty of $325,000, Dubai’s Muhr Awards are the richest in the Arab film biz.

“The Muhr Awards is an initiative we can build on in the years to come, and an excellent tool for us to stimulate filmmaking in the region,” said fest chairman Abdulhamid Juma.