Speaking at the closing ceremony held last week, Iranian-British director Hassan Nazer said, “Winning the audience award at EIFF means everything to me. I have been working towards this since I decided to become a filmmaker. I make films for the audience and will continue to do so.”
He added, “It’s a great thing to be part of an ethnic minority living in Scotland where your vision is a mix of your background and new home. My aim is to always tie my cultures together and celebrate diversity through cinema. I’m very thankful our work has been recognized by Screen Scotland and EIFF.”
The story of the film is set in a deprived area of a small Iranian town where children are required to work to help support their families. Nine-year-old Yahya is one such child, his little hands scouring through massive piles of junk in search of hidden treasures. One day, Yahya strikes literal gold by finding an unclaimed Oscar statue, the curious item leading the boy into an adventure-filled journey.
The award for best feature was given to “A Cat Called Dom” by Scottish animators Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson.
Albeit framed as a film for Will’s mother, we too are invited to witness how Will deals with the grief of his mother’s cancer. The duo work on their animations and face the frustrations of trying to make this documentary. Whilst alone, Will turns to DOM, the animated cat that lives on his laptop screen.
The jury composed of Gaylene Gould, Rosie Crerar and Sarah Winman awarded Maha Haj’s brilliantly realized black comedy, “Mediterranean Fever”.
The film is about Waleed who dreams of a writing career while suffering from depression. He develops a relationship with his neighbor - a small-time crook. While the scheme turns into an unexpected friendship, it leads them into a journey of dark encounters.