The International Euro-Arab Film Festival AMAL screened more than 30 films in the official competition of this year’s 10th edition in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.
Launched in 2003 by an independent foundation the festival is aimed at building bridges between Western and Arab societies.
AMAL means ‘hope’ in Arabic.
The main award for Best Fiction Feature went to the Dutch film ‘Rabat’ by newcomers Jim Taihuttu and Victor Ponten, who were also named Best Directors for their debut feature.
Rabat is a road movie, whose three main characters cross Europe on a trip to deliver an old taxi from Amsterdam to the Moroccan capital.
As they pass through different countries, their friendship is severely tested after encountering extreme situations along the way.
The three leads also shared the Best Actor award.
Best documentary was ‘Le Thé ou l‘électricité’ – or in English ‘Tea or Electricity’ – by the Belgian filmmaker Jérôme Le Maire.
High in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, engineers spend three years bringing electricity to the far-flung village of Ifri.
Le Maire followed the process season by season.
The villagers, who grow walnuts in a lifestyle that’s centuries old, do not want what they call this ‘novelty’.
They want a road instead, without which they will always live on the bread-line.
But the men from the ministry are proud of their mission to bring the modern world to an outpost of ancient ways.