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ADFF Unveils Winners of 2012 Black Pearl, FIPRESCI and NETPAC Awards

Narrative Feature Competition

This competition centers on exciting vision and original storytelling in narrative feature films by international filmmakers.
In 2012, the Narrative Feature Competition presented a selection of 15 films representing 18 countries.

The jury awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Black Pearl Award - Best Narrative Film
Araf/Somewhere in Between, directed by Yeşim Ustağlu (Turkey, Germany, France)
Special Jury Award
Gebo and the Shadow, directed by Manoel de Oliveira (Portugal, France)
Best Director from the Arab World
Nouri Bouzid for Hidden Beauties (Tunisia, France, UAE
Best Actor - in partnership with Jaeger LeCoultre
Gael García Bernal in No (Chile, USA)
Best Actress - in partnership with Jaeger LeCoultre
Franziska Petri, in Betrayal (Russia)

The Jury

PRESIDENT: Shabana Azmi, India
Cedomir Kolar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Samir Farid, Egypt
Niki Karimi, Iran
Ismael Ferroukhi, Morocco

New Horizons Competition

Held for the third time this year, this awards section focuses on the work of first- and second-time directors from around the world, featuring fresh styles and challenging ideas in narrative films.
In 2012, 15 films representing 16 countries competed in the New Horizons Competition.

The jury awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Black Pearl Award - New Horizons
A Respectable Family, directed by Massoud Bakhshi (France, Iran)
Because of the new approach using fiction with the current reality.
Special Jury Award
Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin (USA)
We recognise the skills on display here in all the elements of cinematic language.
Best Film from the Arab World
When I Saw You, directed by Annemarie Jacir (Jordan, Palestine, UAE)
We loved the way in which Annemarie Jacir approached the sensitive subject of that crucial period.
Best Director from the Arab World
Hala Lotfy, for Coming Forth By Day (Egypt, UAE)
We recognise the unusual and stylish visuals which overcome the style of Arabian and especially Egyptian cinema.
Best Actor
Søren Malling, in A Hijacking (Denmark)
We consider the entire cast as brilliant, but as we had to choose only one it is Søren Malling as the Boss.
Best Actress
Golshifteh Farahani, in The Patience Stone (Afghanistan, France, Germany)
The jury chose Golshifteh Farahani because of her high performance in carrying the whole story.
Special Mention
A Hijacking, directed by Tobias Lindholm
For the brilliant screenplay which is skillfully brought alive cinematically onscreen

The Jury

PRESIDENT: Françoise Bonnot, France
Giorgio Gosetti, Italy
Vimukthi Jayasundara, Sri Lanka
Mohamed Jabarah Al Daradji, Iraq
Nawaf Al-Janahi, United Arab Emirates

Documentary Feature Competition

In 2012, the Documentary Feature Competition comprised 12 films from 14 countries. The jury awarded the following Black Pearl Awards:

Black Pearl Award - Best Documentary Film
A World Not Ours, directed by Mahdi Fleifel (Lebanon, UK, UAE)
For constituting a document about life in the Palestinian refugee camps that rips you apart, through the use of everyday language and characters. It projects the essential aspect of the human spirit.
Special Jury Award
Stories We Tell, directed by Sarah Polley (Canada)
For its intelligent style that shows that real life can sometimes be make-believe, and that sometimes in films - as in life - lies may have the charming ability to show a higher truth.
Best New Director
Lyubov Arkus, for Anton's Right Here (Russia)
Through its cinematographic writing, it conjugates both poetry and humanism in an atmosphere of human truth.  It equilibrates form and content in a solid narrative body.
Best Film from the Arab World
Cursed Be the Phosphate, directed by Sami Tlili (Tunisia, UAE, Lebanon, Qatar)
For successfully depicting ordinary people who rose to the occasion in response to historical circumstances as agents for change.
Best Director from the Arab World
Wael Omar and Philippe Dib, for In Search of Oil and Sand (Egypt, UAE)
For successfully merging two historical timelines and creating synthesis between past, present, fact and fiction.

The Jury
PRESIDENT: Miguel Littin, Chile
Haile Gerima, Ethiopia
Carles Bosch, Spain
Mohamed Hefzy, Egypt
Safinez Bousbia, Algeria


The audience takes on the role of the jury in this competition, which is open to all films in the Showcase section, as well as the Opening Night film.

The 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Festival Audience Choice Award goes to:

Saving Face, directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge (Pakistan, USA)

- End of Black Pearl Awards -



The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) was created in 1930 to promote and develop international film culture and safeguard the professional interests of film critics and journalists. With the protection of the freedom and ethics of the film press as its main objective, the federation's worldwide network of national committees also works to expand the idea of cinema as an art form as well as a tool of cultural education. The International Film Critics' Award was established to promote film art and support innovation in cinema.

The ADFF FIPRESCI jury focused on Arab films in the Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition and the New Horizons Competition.

The jury awarded the ADFF FIPRESCI Award 2012 to:

Coming Forth by Day, directed by Hala Lotfy (Egypt, United Arab Emirates)
This is an audacious, personal and profoundly humanistic film that impressed us with its radical cinematographic language, uncommon in Arab cinema.


A World Not Ours, directed by Mahdi Fleifel (Lebanon, UK, United Arab Emirates);
A documentary carried by emotions without losing its lucid grip on reality. It revisits the memory of a Palestinian refugee camp, spanning from nostalgic childhood recollections till today's scattered hopes.  


PRESIDENT: Barbara Lorey de Lacharriere, France
Fernando Salva, Spain
Essam Zakarea, Egypt
Houda Ibrahim, France
Premendra Mazumder, India

ADFF NETPAC Award 2012

NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) is the leading platform for the discovery and promotion of Asian cinema. To acknowledge and recognize the emergence of new cinematic talent among Asians, it brought the NETPAC Award to international film festivals. As more Asian films are selected for exhibition to world audiences, a yardstick for quality was necessary that matched the competitive spirit fuelling the creative urges of young Asian filmmakers. The NETPAC Award is now given at 28 international film festivals in 21 countries on five continents.

The jury awarded the ADFF NETPAC Award 2012 to:
A World Not Ours, directed by Mahdi Fleifel (Lebanon, UK, United Arab Emirates)
For its heartfelt, whimsical and nostalgic portrait of life in a Palestinian refugee camp


PRESIDENT: Prasanna Vithanage, Sri Lanka
Nick Palevsky, United States of America
Gautaman Bhaskaran, India

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