The film You will die at 20 wins the Best Fiction Film Award at the 17th Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival

In addition, Talking about trees wins the Spanish Cooperation ACERCA Award, Buddha in Africa wins the Best Documentary Award, and the animated short film Machini wins the Best Short Film Award.

Tarifa, Spain. 13 December 2020. The Sudanese feature length film You will die at 20, by Amjad Abu Alala, which premiered in Spain at the 17th edition of the Tarifa Tangier African Film Festival (FCAT) won the Award for Best Fiction Feature Film at this year’s FCAT, “for its wonderful film language, for the values it represents, for showing how a young person works and fights against preconceived ideas, under the weight of religion and tradition, and how he decides to wake the world”, stated the international jury that awarded the prize.

The film’s director, Amjad Abu Alala, thanked the jury for the award and thanked FCAT for making it possible for cinema to move forward. In his video message, he also expressed his wish to travel to the festival in Tarifa and Tangiers as soon as circumstances allow.

In this edition of the Festival, the international jury was composed of journalist and filmmaker Hind Meddeb, independent programmer and cinema historian Olivier Hadouchi and actor and director of the Black View collective, Armando Buika. This jury was responsible for selecting three best films among the nine competing in the Long-Sightedness section.

Talking about Trees, by Sudanese filmmaker Suhaib Gasmelbari was awarded two prizes. The film won the Audience Award, as it was the most voted on the Spanish platform Filmin, where all competing films were available for streaming. The film also won the first ACERCA Spanish Cooperation Prize. The award was presented to the director by the AECID jury, composed of the international jury plus the representative of the Spanish Cooperation Agency AECID, Elvira Cámara López. The ACERCA prize is bestowed to the film that best contributes to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the eradication of poverty and the full enjoyment of human rights.

The Jury underlined the cinematic nature of this documentary, which tells the story of five filmmakers’ struggle to reopen a cinema in the vicinity of Khartoum. They seek to restore the right of the people of Sudan to enjoy cinema, which had been abolished by the Sudanese dictatorship. The courage of the director in filming this documentary during the dictatorship was also highlighted.

The ACERCA prize was awarded to this Sudanese film for the values it represents, particularly the role of culture as an element that promotes peaceful coexistence between peoples, as well as for conveying the idea that cooperation fosters the creation of democratic societies with strong institutions at the service of the community. These two values, peace and democracy, facilitate the development of peoples and progress, both social and economic, making it possible to make progress in the fight against poverty and to align this vision with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030.

The Casa Africa Award for the Best Documentary Feature went to Buddha in Africa, by the South African filmmaker Nicole Schafer. This film was another premiere of the 17th edition of FCAT in Spain. The jury has justified it “because of the way in which the director shows a contemporary process that is not well documented, in Malawi, a country not very familiar to Europeans. The topics are also quite under the radar: the Chinese presence in Africa and in Malawi in particular, with its cultural influence and spreading of Buddhism. The way the director highlights contradictions and paradoxes and allows room for critical reflection so that the spectator can form their own opinion”.

Nicole Schafer thanked the festival and the jury for the award by videoconference. She was surprised by the award and praised the festival’s programme, which she hopes to attend very soon.

The international jury also agreed to give a special mention to the documentary 143, rue du Désert (Hassen Ferhani, Algeria, 2019) and another to the fiction film Abou Leila (Amin Sidi-Boumediene, Algeria, 2019).

The Andalusian jury, made up of filmmakers Carlos Violadé, Marta M. Mata and Sara Gallardo, revealed the award for the Best Short Film in the section In Brief. The award went to Machini (Frank Mukunday and Tétshim, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019), an animated short film without dialogues.

For the jury, “Machini creates a unique universe, full of poetry and originality, and shows one reality: the consequences that the progress of the West continues to have on the African continent.

The jury also awarded a special mention to Bablinga (Fabien Dao, Burkina Faso, 2019), because it offers “a different view of migration and the sacrifice involved in leaving the place where you come from. All in pursuit of the golden dream of Europe, a false mirage that collapses with the passing of time. Bablinga has an effective way of transmitting the longing, nostalgia and maladjustment that are inherent to the uprooting of migrants who leave with the hope of a better life”.

The 17th edition of the Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival took place from 4 to 13 December 2020. It was the first edition in the history of the festival to be held in a hybrid online/offline format. The 18th FCAT edition will be held again in the spring, if the pandemic allows, from 28 May to 5 June 2021.

Here is a short video of the award giving, with video messages from Hind Meddeb, Nicole Schafer and Amjad Abu Alala in English, and the rest of speeches in French and Spanish.

This article is also available in French and in Arabic.

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