Mahmoud Sabbagh (right) at the 2016 Berlinale film festival (photo: courtesy of Berlinale website)
The three-member jury for the Berlinale GWFF Best First Feature Award includes Saudi Arabian author, director and producer Mahmoud Sabbagh.
Sabbagh was born in Jeddah in 1983 and studied documentary filmmaking at Columbia University in New York. His debut feature, Barakah Meets Barakah, was screened in the 2016 Berlinale Forum, where it received the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. The film was then screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, and went on to become the first Saudi film to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
The GWFF Best First Feature Award was introduced in 2006 as a means of supporting the next generation of filmmakers. The 50,000 Euros award is donated by the Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrecht (GWFF), a society dedicated to safeguarding film and television rights. The prize is split between the director and producer of the film.
Sixteen films are nominated for the award by festival director Dieter Kosslick and by the heads of the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections.
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