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SIGNIS Awards at ZIFF 2007

Thursday 12 July 2007, by SIGNIS

Zanzibar, July 8, 2007 (SIGNIS) - At the 2007 Festival of the Dhow Countries in Zanzibar, the SIGNIS Prize was given to the film Ibrahim, by Manyar I. Parwani (Denmark).

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"Ibrahim" portrays the actual need for solidarity, compassion and dignity that surrounds the immigration issue

"A beautifully sensitive story told with captivating symbolism. As both Ibrahim and the man who takes him in have lost their loved ones, they find solidarity among themselves by drowning their pities in tackling mathematical sums and chess play. Constructed in an effective way, the film elaborately illustrates the problems encountered by foreigners in societies that deny a place for them. It stresses the need for true communication on a ground of real understanding and listening to the others, the different ones. A film that portrays the actual need for solidarity, compassion and dignity that surrounds the immigration issue."

The story of Ibrahim, a young Rwandese refugee in a European country’s detention centre who loses a case on asylum and is ordered to be repatriated. He is at a crossroads and, with no roof over his head and the authorities hot on his heels, finds solace from the most unexpected in a high class society whose law is outrightly ignorant of the needs of foreigners.

A SIGNIS Commendation went to The Film Class , by Uri Rosenwaks (Israel).

"Using the format of a documentary-in-a-documentary, the students bring out the issue of a marginalised minority in the Israeli society, questioning racism and segregation of the dark skinned people as seen against the background of the historical legacy of slavery."

A film class of four afro Bedouin girls in Israel sets out to learn the techniques of filmmaking. While doing this work they find themselves speaking about issues concerning them as media people as well as a marginalised minority, in what becomes a personal journey into slavery from past to present that changes their perception and their lives.

For the third year, SIGNIS also presented the SIGNIS East African Talent Award. The Main Prize went to Malooned , by Bob Nyanja (Kenya).

"A unique beautifully told story, which starts with lot of mistrust of two people from different social backgrounds but ends on a more exciting and clearly illuminating note. Its well-written script can be understood universally, and the excellent choice of music supports its at times hilarious plot. The story deals with the watchman fitting in as a spectator of the unexpected. The dichotomy of different political, gender and human views evolved to the discovery of the need for dialogue and the imperative of true communication."

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"Malooned", a unique beautifully told story

A 28 year old lady who is just three days away from wedding finds herself accidentally locked with a married man in a toilet on Easter holidays. Any second that passes by just pushes their desperation even further. Stranded on the 15th floor of a Nairobi skyscraper, they have no choice but to get along and make the best out of their unusual situation.

A SIGNIS Commendation for the East African Talent Award was given to Fimbo Ya Baba (Father’s stick), by Chande Omar (Tanzania).

"A simple story with an easy to understand plot that portrays a situation which many women can attest to, the film goes on to show an African woman that has come of age in standing for her rights in a marriage setup. The situation narrated by the film is realistic and does not get into a judgemental statement on the issue of HIV and of women rights violation. The skilful camerawork and the mise en scène show the prospect of promising talented director at work."

When Amina, a young Swahili girl, is forced by her father to marry a wealthy old man infected with HIV, her ambitions and dreams on education and a better future are brought to an end. She has to play both wife and nurse to her ailing husband whose death brings with it hostility, as she is chased away and denied her right to inheritance by her husband’s family.

The SIGNIS Jury members were: Moses Hamungole (Zambia), Sheila Mulinya (Kenya), Alberto Ramos (Cuba) and Fabrizio Colombo (Italia).

http://www.ziff.or.tz

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