Syrian documentary 'Sugar Cage' wins at 22nd Ismailia Int’l Film Festival

Eslam Omar , Wednesday 23 Jun 2021

The challenging edition concluded on Tuesday, after dozens of documentaries and short films competed in various competitions

Syrian director Zeina Alqahwaji
Syrian director Zeina Alqahwaji receives Best Feature Documentary award at the closing of the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts' 22nd edition, Tuesday 22 June 2021, Ismailia

Syrian film 'Qafas El-Sokkar' (‘Sugar Cage’) by director Zeina Al-Qahwaji, has won the Best Feature Documentary award at the challenging 22nd edition of the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts, which concluded on Tuesday at the Suez Canal City.

Dozens of filmmakers, critics, and officials, along with Ismailiya Governor Sherif Beshara have attended the closing ceremony of the prestigious event; organised by the Culture Ministry’s National Cinema Centre since 1991.

The 60-minute 'Sugar Cage' demonstrates the life of Zeina's parents, after eight years of war in Syria, observing their intimate relationship under isolation, fear, and stagnancy.

The Best Short Documentary award went to Hungary's 'Nanu Tudor' (‘My Uncle Tudor’) by Olga Lucovnicova.. Sudanese 'Al-Sit' by Suzannah Mirghani has also won Best Short Documentary, while Belgian ‘Carrousel’ by Jasmine Elsen was named the Best Animation film.

The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award went to Azerbaijan's ‘When Persimmons Grew' by director Hilal Baydarov. 

In the student contests, ‘Forsa Akheira’, directed by Amr Sedky, won Best Fiction film, while '20LE Per Month' by Ahmed Abu Domah won Best Documentary.

closing ceremony of the 22nd Ismalila Int
At the closing ceremony of the 22nd Ismalila Int'l Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts; Ismailia governor Sherif Beshara shakes hand with writer Mohamed El-Basosy, head of the National Cinema Centre, as Culture Ministry's cinema adviser Khaled Abdel-Gelil and the festival president Essam Zakaria gesture, Tuesday 22 June 2021, Ismailia, Egypt.

National Cinema Centre head Mohamed El-Basosy, Festival President Essam Zakareya, and Culture Ministry's Cinema Adviser Khaled Abdel-Gelil have all given speeches during the closing ceremony of the festival, thanking all the organisers — led by Culture Minster Ines Abdel-Dayem — for organising a challenging edition that was postponed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The jury for documentary films included multiple prominent film makers, including DejanPetrović, Hala Khalil, Nogoum Al-Ganem, and Rodrigo Brum; while the jury for fiction films consisted of Abdel-Ilah El-Gohary, Bunjamin Kurtishi, Elena Korzhaeva, Tamer Habib, and Tomás Welssis.

With Russia being the guest of honour, a few parallel programmes and seminars were included in the festival that included tribute events for Egyptian star actors who had an impact on short films; such as Safia El-Emari, Ahmed Bedir, Sabry Fawaz, Ahmed Wafik, Basma, Salwa Mohamed Ali, and Ahmed Kamal.

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