Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, For Sama won the Best Full Length Film award at Turkey's International Migration Film Festival on Sunday.
Celebrated Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this year’s festival jury president, said that For Sama was selected unanimously for the award.
“The Best Film Award of the International Migration Film Festival, which started with the idea of embracing one of the greatest tragedies of this age with its theme, went to a documentary film,” Ceylan said.
For Sama, which also won awards for best documentary at several events -- including BAFTA, Cannes and the British Independent Film Awards -- tells the story of a young mother during the Syrian civil war.
Al-Kateab said she lived in Turkey for over a year, and she was one of the refugees living in these country.
“And now, I’m a refugee in the UK,” she said, advising everyone living in Turkey to watch his film to learn about the reasons of migration and the difficulties the migrants have to face.
“Thank you very much for this recognition,” she said.
The Most Inspiring Script award was given to Just Like My Son by Italian director Costanza Quatriglio which focuses on the story of two brothers who escaped from Afghanistan and are now living in Europe.
Chinese actress and director Joan Chen, one of the jury members, said: “The unsaid is as powerful as the said in the film which lingers and resonates long after we finished it watching.”
Quatriglio thanked the festival and the jury for the award and said: “We are so honored to receive this award.”
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Turkish actress Tuba Buyukustun announced The Children of the Shore by Amelia Nanni as the winner of UNICEF International Short Film.
“It tells us the tragedy of a refugee child over the meeting of two different cultures,” Buyukustun said.
Nanni said the award gave her courage to shoot her next film, and added: “To be able to continue some works we do in life, we may need a helping hand extending at the right time.”
Same Boat competition award goes to Turkish film
Iranian director Farnoosh Samadi from the jury members of The Same Boat competition, said The Same Boat Best Film award went to Turkish director Zeynep Koprulu’s Orada (There).
“In this impressive film, the singular story of a woman is used as an example of the ill-treatment and exclusion that migrants are exposed to,” Samadi said, adding that multi-layered story, its cinematography and the acting persuaded them for giving the award to Koprulu’s film.
“This award made us so happy and honored,” Koprulu said, expressing pleasure for being involved in the festival raising awareness for migration.
At the festival, Oskar & Lilli by Arash T. Riahi was given the honorable mention award.
The Best Film won €15,000 ($16,783), while Best Short Film and Best Inspirational Script were awarded €5,000 each.
The Same Boat competition’s selection was awarded €1,000.
A total of 45 films from 30 countries were available free of charge during the week-long festival from June 14 to 21 via www.festivalscope.com through subscription.
Oscar-winning Syrian-US actor F. Murray Abraham was the honorary president of the festival.
Among the jury members were American actor and director Danny Lebern Glover, Bosnian actor Emir Hadzihafizbegovic, Chinese-American actress Joan Chen, Danish film director Lone Scherfig, three-times Oscar-winning British costume designer Sandy Powell, and Iranian actor Shahab Hosseini who won the best actor award at Cannes in 2016.
With Anadolu Agency being its global communication partner, the festival was supported by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry, and organized by the Interior Ministry under the auspices of the Turkish Presidency.
*Contributions and writing by Sena Guler
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