Announced under the Umbrella of ACC in Berlinale
Variety Grants Its Arab Filmmaker of the Year Award for Majid Al Ansari's Zinzana
As part of its partnership with Arab Cinema Center (ACC) within the 66th Berlin International Film Festival (11 - 21 February), Variety magazine awarded the 2015 Arab Filmmaker of the Year Award to Majid Al Ansari for his debut feature film Zinzana.
Upon his film's win, Al Ansari commented, "I am truly honored to have won the Variety magazine Filmmaker of the Year award. In addition to Variety and MAD Solutions, I would also like to thank Image Nation which strongly supported the production process. I hope that this award will bring more attention to the flourishing film industry in the UAE and that it paves the way for serious and unexpected narrative techniques."
Previously, Variety magazine award was hosted at Abu Dhabi Film Festival till its last presence in 2014 when Naji Abu Nowar, director of the 2016 Oscar nominated film for Best Foreign Language Feature Theeb, was awarded Variety's prestigious prize. In 2016, the award is reinstated by the Arab Cinema Center during the Berlin International Film Festival.
Majid Al Ansari is a young Emirati director who took part in a number of important film projects, such as director Nawaf Al-Janahi's Sea Shadow, director Ali Mostafa's From A to Z. Al Ansari has also won the Golden Palm award at the Mexico International Film Festival for his short film The Intruder, which was screened at numerous important film festivals and events.
Al Ansari has recently completed his feature debut film Zinzana, which is produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Largely set in a Jordanian prison, the film has been officially selected to take part at the BFI London Film Festival. Starring Saleh Bakri, Ali Suliman, and Ahd Kamel, the film portrays the story of Talal, a prisoner who is waiting to make bail in a rural town, forced to leave behind his son and e-wife. When an officer pays the prison a visit, Talal finds himself a witness to a bloodbath and he realizes that being incarcerated is the least of his problems as he has to play a madman's game to save his family's lives.
During this year's round of the Berlinale, the Arab Cinema Center is present along with its 26 partners, including film organizations and companies from around the world. As part of the new strategy in 2016, Arab Cinema Center is targeting more than 20 international festivals and film markets, as it opened the year at the 45th International Film Festival Rotterdam, and is set to take part in the HKTDC Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART) (14-17 March). More details about the center's future presence in international markets will be revealed on a later date.
During the festival, Arab Cinema Center announced its year-round partnership with Variety magazine as its media partner and with Festival Scope as a digital partner, as well as Striim. in as the center's technology partner during 2016. The Center also launched a magazine listing the partners, festivals and film markets hosting it this year and also highlights the latest updates in the Arab film market.
Arab Cinema Center is operating as an international promotional platform for Arab cinema as it provides Arab filmmakers with a professional window to connect with filmmakers from all over the world through a number of events that it organizes and provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution, among others.
The Center's activities vary between Film Market main wings, introduction sessions for Arab and foreign filmmakers, welcome parties, meetings with international organizations and festivals, in addition to releasing an ACC guide to be distributed among the Film Market visitors.