Spotlight: British film "Limbo" wins Golden Pyramid at Cairo int'l film festival

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CAIRO, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- British comedy-drama film "Limbo," directed by Ben Sharrock and starring Egyptian-British actor Amir el-Masry, won the top Golden Pyramid Award for Best Film in the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), concluded on Thursday evening with a festive ceremony at Egypt's Cairo Opera House.

The film tells the story of Omar, a promising young musician who has been forced to leave his family in Syria, and a number of refugees from other countries, isolated in a remote Scottish island awaiting a decision on their political asylum applications and sharing the same hope.

El-Masry, who played the role of Omar, received the Golden Pyramid on behalf of Sharrock, who made a video statement screened on the stage monitor where he expressed his appreciation to the festival and the jury.

"Thank you very much for this award. This is incredible news. This is very exciting," said the British filmmaker, referring to el-Masry as "an incredible talent."

Not only the Golden Pyramid went to "Limbo," but it also won Henry Barakat Award for Best Artistic Contribution, which is also one of the festival's official sections.

The film also garnered the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award, which is outside the official sections.

"We faced a lot of challenges during the film, but it will never be as difficult as those facing the refugees in reality," el-Masry told the attendees during the ceremony.

The Silver Pyramid, Special Jury Award for Best Director was awarded to Russian filmmaker Ivan I. Tverdovskiy for his film "Conference," and the Bronze Pyramid Award for Best First or Second Work was presented to Egyptian director Mayye Zayed for her documentary "Lift Like a Girl."

The Best Actor Award was won by Bulgarian actor Julian Vergov for his role in "German Lessons" by Pavel G. Vesnakov, while the Best Actress Award was shared between Egyptian veteran actress Elham Shahin for her role in "Curfew" by Egyptian filmmaker Amir Ramses and Russian actress Natalya Pavlenkova for her role in "Conference."

Mexican film "50 or Two Whales Meet on the Beach," written and directed by Jorge Cuchi, won Naguib Mahfouz Award for Best Screenplay, which is part of the CIFF's official competition.

"I was really honored to be invited to this festival. It was a Middle East premiere here in the CIFF. It was a great screening and a great reception. I am really very happy," the Mexican filmmaker told Xinhua, noting that his film made its world premiere in the Critics Week of Venice International Film Festival in September.

The acclaimed Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov was president of the seven-member international jury.

Several other featured and short films won honorary and jury prizes in the 42nd CIFF, including Saudi Arabia's "The Tambour of Retribution," Palestinian film "Gaza Mon Amour," Lebanese feature documentary "We Are from There," Japanese-Vietnamese co-production "Along the Sea," Morocco's "The Fall of Apple Trees" and Dutch feature debut "Gold."

Running from Dec. 2 to 10, the 42nd CIFF saw the participation of more than 90 films from 40 countries, among them 20 made their world premieres.

The closing ceremony was attended by Egyptian Minister of Culture Inas Abdel-Dayem and hundreds of Egyptian and foreign filmmakers, movie stars, producers, critics and public figures.

The festival's president, Mohamed Hefzy, thanked the Egyptian ministries of culture, health, tourism and interior for their support to make the festival a success amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Enditem

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