MAFF 2023 Awards

Malmö – May 3, 2023

The activities of the 13th edition of Malmö Arab Film Festival (MAFF) concluded with the announcement of the awards at a ceremony in the Luftkastellet (Air Castle) hall overlooking the Öresund Bridge in Malmö. Where the Iraqi film “Hanging Gardens” by Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji collected three awards: the best film (35,000 Swedish kronor), the best screenplay, and the best actor, which went to its young actor, Hussain Muhammad Jalil, while the award for best actress went to Adila Bendimerad, the heroine and co-director of the Algerian film “The Last Queen”.

Two Lebanese documentaries won a share of the awards. “Batata” by Lebanese director Nora Kevorkian won the Special Jury Prize (25,000 Swedish kronor), while the award for best non-fiction film (15,000 Swedish kronor) went to to “Hyphen” by Reine Razzouk. The Palestinian Firas Khoury won the directing award for “Alam”, while the jury gave a special mention to the Tunisian film “Under the Fig Trees” by Erige Sehiri.

As for the short films, the Egyptian film “Mama” directed by Naji Ismail won the Best Short Film Award (15,000 Swedish kronor), while the Special Jury Prize (10,000 Swedish kronor) went to the Lebanese film “Les Chenilles” directed by Michel and Noel Kasrawani. The jury gave a special mention to the film “Almaz” directed by Mia Bittar from Sudan.

The ceremony began with a speech by the festival’s president, Mouhamad Keblawi, who welcomed the guests and referred to the steps the festival has achieved during the current year regarding further expansion in supporting Arab cinema and screening the best films in Malmö, noting the large audience who attended the various activities of the festival, whether public screenings or professional activities.

This was followed by the distribution of certificates of appreciation to the trainees participating in the two workshops “Make Your Film in 5 Days” and “My Film Project” workshops, organized by the festival in cooperation with the Saudi Film Commission to train 14 young talents. Then, the two businessmen, Muhannad Badawi and Ayman Kaddoura, were honoured for their continuous support for the festival for several years.

After that, the awards of the short films jury, which consisted of Daniel Ziskind (France), Nicolas Mouawad (Lebanon) and Diya Yousef (Saudi Arabia) began to be announced, followed by the decisions of the feature films jury consisting of Hana Shiha (Egypt), Marina Kostova (North Macedonia), Mohannad Bakri (Jordan), Nada Abou Farhat (Lebanon) and Taoufik Guiga (Tunisia).

Janne Grönholm, the chairman of the cultural committee in the city, announced the winning film of the Malmö audience’s choice award of 25,000 Swedish kronor, which went to the Sudanese documentary “Heroic Bodies” directed by Sarah Suliman.

The award ceremony was followed by a concert, in which the Jordanian star Zain Awad sang, accompanied by the Andalusia Band, led by the artist Tariq Al-Hajj.

For his part, Mouhamad Keblawi expressed his happiness with the success of the edition, saying: “The positive comments received by the festival team from the filmmakers, guests and the people of Malmö fill us with happiness of what we have achieved, and motivate us to make more efforts in the future. We will immediately start work on the 14th edition, hoping that every year of MAFF will be better than the previous one”.


The full list of Malmö Film Festival 2023 awards:

Feature Film Competition

Best Film (35,000 Swedish kronor): Hanging Gardens – Directed by Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji (Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Britain, Saudi Arabia)

Jury Award (25,000 Swedish kronor): Batata – Directed by Nora Kevorkian (Canada, Lebanon)

Best Non-Fiction Film (15,000 Swedish kronor): Hyphen – Directed by Reine Razzouk (Lebanon)

Best Director: Alam – Directed by Firas Khoury (Palestine, France, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar)

Best Screenplay: Hanging Gardens – Directed by Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji (Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Britain, Saudi Arabia)

Best Actor: Adila Bendimerad for The Last Queen – Directed by Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounouri (Algeria, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Taiwan)

Best Actress: Hussain Muhammad Jalil for Hanging Gardens – Directed by Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji (Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Britain, Saudi Arabia)

Special Mention: Under the Fig Trees – Directed by Erige Sehiri (Tunisia, France, Switzerland, Germany, Qatar)


Short Film Competition

Best Short Film (15,000 Swedish kronor): Mama – Directed by Naji Ismail (Egypt)

Jury Award (10,000 Swedish kronor): Les Chenilles – Directed by Michelle Keserwany and Noel Keserwany (Lebanon)

Special Mention: Almaz – Directed by Mia Bittar (Sudan)

The City of Malmö Audience Award (25,000 Swedish kronor): Heroic Bodies – Directed by Sarah Suliman (Sudan)