Iranian director declared overall winner with short animation film Zero Degree.

BMW Group Middle East announced the winners of the MINI Film Festival 2006 during a gala event held at the XVA gallery in Bastakiya last week.

Omid Khoshnazar from Iran was the winner with his short animation film Zero Degree; with Lonely Bench by Yousef Khowes (UAE) in second place; Zeina Aboul Hosn’s I Remember Lebanon (Lebanon) in third place; and Buzz of Dubai by Ziad Oakes (UAE) winner of the ‘People’s Choice Award’.

"The inaugural year of the MINI Film Festival 2006 was a resounding success, and we were all impressed by the high caliber of the 55 entries received from across the Middle East," said Guenther Seemann, Managing Director, BMW Group Middle East.

"From the positive response we have received from participants, judges and the regional film industry, this is definitely an event we would like to support to grow and flourish over the coming years.

"We would like to congratulate the winners of the MINI Film Festival 2006, and look forward to watching the development of their film careers."

The four winners were selected from a short-list of ten finalists, whose films were shown at the MINI Film Festival at the XVA Gallery in Bastakiya on the 23rd of November 2006. A team of professional industry judges - Antonia Carver, Nima Abu Wardeh, Marcus Webb, Lotfi Bencheikh, and Masoud Amralla Al Ali – deliberated the merits of the ultimate winners based on criteria of creativity and originality.

Zero Degree, a short animation film by Omid Khoshnazar from Iran, depicting a soldier caught in a camera cadre, was judged the first winner. Courtesy of the MINI Film Festival 2006, Omid has won tickets for two to fly to the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, which will provide him with valuable industry networking opportunities.

Khoshnazar, a participant in over 60 international film festivals, expressed his personal satisfaction in taking part in the MINI Film Festival 2006, "I am very happy to have won the first prize for the Inaugural MINI Film Festival 2006. This award means a lot to me in terms of recognition and I am thrilled that MINI has created an atmosphere for creativity. If all goes well, I will definitely be back next year with new projects."

Yousef Khouwes (UAE) fought off stiff competition to take the second place with his film, Lonely Bench. The short film explores the plight of people who play an important part in our society but remain ignored. A fine arts graduate from Damascus University, Yousef honed his skills while studying film-making in Hollywood and is now the proud recipient of an Apple Mac Pro.

Zeina Aboul Hosn’s film, I Remember Lebanon, took the third place with her portrayal of the country and its tryst with wars. The film dwells on how the people of Lebanon were just coming to terms with the nation’s past and how all that changed in a matter of weeks earlier this year. Zeina wins a full-time three month internship at Filmworks, a well-known film production institute.

The ‘People’s Choice Award’, made possible by SMS voting on the night, was awarded to Buzz of Dubai, a snapshot of popular culture in Dubai. Ziad Oakes and his partners, Jad and Maurice combined their creativity and filmmaking skills to complete their film in just two days.

"It was a real buzz to be selected to be part of the MINI Film Festival 2006, and an even bigger buzz to be voted the ‘People’s Choice’ winners!" said Zaid Oakes.

"The festival gave us aspiring film makers the opportunity to showcase our work, gauge the talent in this region, and also gave us an opportunity to get audience feedback on our work. Even better, it has provided us with the inspiration and motivation to continue making films, and hopefully we will see our names on the big screens in the near future."


- Rana Jones, Bmw Middle-East -

photos copyright MINI - BMW


29.11.2006 / MaP

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