Egypt's 'The Square' wins Amnesty International award at Berlinale

Ahram Online, Sunday 16 Feb 2014

'The Square' by Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim wins an independent jury award at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival

The Square
Photo: Still from film 'The Square'

The Square, a two-hour documentary that chronicles over two years of revolution and political upheaval in Egypt, has been awarded the Amnesty International Film Prize at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale).

The prize is among the independent jury awards given during the festival, in parallel to official juries which award films and filmmakers with Golden, Silver and Crystal Bears.

Prior to its screening at the Berlinale, The Square had already won the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, as well as the People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival. Recently, the film earned Egypt its very first Academy Award nomination in the documentary category.

Last month, director Jehane Nouajim was awarded the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for The Square.

The film starring Khaled Abdalla, Magdy Ashour, Aida El-Kashef, Ramy Essam, Ahmed Hassan and Ragia Omran, is an immersive experience that transports viewers into the intense emotional dramas and personal stories behind the January 2011 uprising and its aftermath of military and short-lived Muslim Brotherhood rule.

This year, the 64th Berlin International Film Festival runs between 6 and 16 February. The festival featured five films by Egyptian directors: Jehane Noujaim's The Square; Arij: Scent of a Revolution directed by Viola Shafik; From Behind the Monument by Cairo-based visual artist and filmmaker Jasmina Metwaly; Shooting Stars Remind Me of Eavesdroppers by Maha Maamoun, and Om Amira by Naji Ismail.

Short film Dry Hot Summers, co-produced by Claudia Jubeh (Germany) and Hossam El-Ouan (Egypt), directed by Sherif El-Bendary, written by Nura El-Sheikh was awarded the Robert Bosch Stiftung prize in a ceremony held on Sunday 9 February during Berlinale Talents at the festival.

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