South Korean director Hong Sang-soo was awarded the El Gouna Gold Star for best narrative film for his meditation on art and relationships, “In Our Day,” as the delayed edition of the El Gouna Film Festival held its closing ceremony on Thursday. The Italian animated film “A Greyhound of a Girl,” directed by Enzo D’Alò, and the Brazilian director Guto Parente’s “A Strange Path” picked up the Silver and Bronze Stars respectively.
The jury comprised of Indian director Anup Singh, Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak, Palestinian actress Yasmine Al-Massri, French Lebanese actress Manal Issa and Egyptian filmmaker Omar El Zohairy.
In the non-fiction category, Ibrahim Nash’at’s acclaimed documentary “Hollywoodgate” took the top prize, with “Seven Winters in Tehran” and Mila Turajlić’s Serbian film “Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels” sharing the Silver Star, and “On the Adamant,” directed by French director Nicolas Philibert, taking the Bronze Star. The jury comprised of producer Catherine Dussart, Oscar nominee Jehane Noujaim, Sudanese filmmaker Ibrahim Shaddad, Egyptian Sherief Elkatsha and producer Lamia Chraibi. They also awarded the Green Star as a recognition to a film with a particular social impact to “The Buriti Flower,” directed by João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora, and the Best Arab Documentary Star was given to the Tunisian film “Machtat,” directed by Sonia Ben Slama.
“Hollywoodgate” also won the Fipresci Prize awarded by a jury of international journalists – Polish film critic Ola Salwa, South African film critic Stephen Aspeling, and Egyptian journalist Zein Al Abedin Khairy – continuing an impressive festival run that began earlier this year when it took its initial bow at the Venice Film Festival. The documentary tells the story of Afghanistan in the immediate wake of the American withdrawal, captured by Egyptian director Nash’at. Mohamed Kordofani’s “Goodbye Julia,” which depicts the relationship between a northern Sudanese family and their southern Sudanese maid, won the Cinema for Humanity Audience Award.
Acting honors went to the young Battsooj Uurtsaikh and the mature Parwin Rajabi. Uurtsaikh was recognized for his portrayal of an ambitious teenager trying to win a scholarship via a physics competition in the Mongolian film “If Only I Could Hibernate,” directed by Zoljargal Purevdash. In Sina Muhammad’s “Transient Happiness,” Rajabi plays an aging woman whose relationship with her distant husband grows closer as she falls ill. The film also won the El Gouna Star for Best Arab Narrative Film.
Short film prize Gold Star went to Philippine director Sam Manacsa’s “Cross My Heart and Hope to Die,” with the Silver and Bronze stars going to “The Red Sea Makes Me Want to Cry,” directed by Faris Alrjoob and Carolina Vergara’s “At Last, the Day” respectively. “Les Chenilles,” directed by the Lebanese duo Michelle and Noel Keserwany, won the El Gouna Star for Best Arab Short.