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31  03  2008

Algerian Film Panorama in Algiers

The seventh art rises from its ashes

The history of Algerian cinema will no longer be told in the past tense. This was the message delivered by Algerian Culture Minister, Khalida Toumi, at the closing ceremony of the Panorama devoted to recent Algerian films, as part of the event Algiers 2007, Capital of Arab Culture. She insisted that the dynamism injected into the sector by the event would continue in 2008 thanks to the increase in the budget allocated to the Filmmaking Fund (Fdatic). The Minister also urged directors and film associations to contribute to the debate and work together to help Algerian cinema emerge from the present "crisis situation".

From March 20-27, Algerian cinemagoers were able to enjoy avant-premiere screenings of domestic productions made in 2007, i.e. 68 films including 20 features, 33 documentaries, 15 telefilms and shorts. Algerian cinema had not seen such a profusion of creativity for over ten years as a result of the closure of three national film production companies and the total lack of funding given to the culture sector, the last cog in the development machine. And even if this flourishing of film production is related to "the chance occasion", one of the main characteristics of Algerian culture is that it evolves and changes with important events. Moreover, this Panorama provided the opportunity to look at the work of young filmmakers and more established directors who have often been forced to abandon their cameras for years at a time.

This Panorama also encouraged film lovers to return to movie theatres, giving them the opportunity to indulge their passion but also to take stock of a cultural year dominated by the controversy caused by the colossal budget allocated (5 billion dinars).

After around 60 screenings, three juries comprised of art critics and national and international directors (including Italy’s Giovanni Rizzo, Tunisia’s Moufida Tlatli and Raja Amari, Morocco’s Salima Benmoumen and Palestine’s Michel Khleifi) awarded the prizes in three categories: features, documentaries, telefilms and film shorts.

List of prize winners

Features:

  • Special Panorama Award: Arezki, l’indigène by Djamel Bendedouche and Cartouches gauloises by Mehdi Charef
  • Best Screenplay Award: Ayrouwen by Brahim Tsaki
  • Special Mention for the actors in Mel Ouatni by Fatima Belhadj
  • Best Film Award: La maison jaune by Ammor Hakkar
Documentaries:

  • Jury Prize: Violence contre les femmes by Sid-Ali Mazif
  • Special Panorama Award: Joue à l’ombre by Mohamed Lakhdar Tatit
  • Best Screenplay Award: Hnifa, une vie brulée by Ramdane Iftini and Sami Alla
  • Best Documentary Award: 8 mai 1945 by Mériem Hamidet
Shorts and telefilms:

Shorts

Encouragement Award: Houria by Mohamed Yargui, Khti by Yanis Koussim and Les Etrangers by Mohamed Rabia.

Telefilms:

Panorama Award: Les Expulsés by Omar Chouchane Best Telefilm Award: El Mehna by Nourredine Zerrouki.

Wahiba Labrèche