It is “Khatemeh”, by Hadi and Mehdi Zarei, the winner of the 5th edition of MyArt International Film Festival, the independent cinema festival promoted by the Multiethnic Cultural Association La Kasbah Onlus and which took place in Cosenza from 9th to 12th December. The documentary “Khatemeh” won the “Sarah Maldoror” Award, in memory of the director and activist of Guadeloupe origins, who passed away in 2020.
Hadi and Mehdi Zarei, from Iran, said they were honored to receive an award named after a director who was able to tell about African society and its desire for redemption and liberation from the colonial logic that for years has blocked independence and economic development.
“For being able to tell the story of Khatemeh, a 14-year-old Afghan woman forced to marry the husband of her sister who committed suicide. The authors’ gaze moves with great empathy and discretion towards one of the many “invisible stories” that see young women as protagonists, victims of abuse and violence, in often inaccessible family contexts. Stories and voices that remain in the shadows and on the margins of history. A film that is a document, a testimony, an example of how cinema still plays an essential role in restoring memory and transforming us into active witnesses of our history ”.
These are the motivations of the jury chaired by Francesco Costabile, who was awarded the Calafilm 2021 Award for the documentary In a future April made together with Federico Savonitto by the Cinepresi Cultural Club during the final evening of the festival. The young Calabrian director, who will soon be in Italian cinemas with his first fictional feature film entitled A female, freely inspired by the investigative book “Fimmine Ribelli” by Lirio Abbate on women victims of violence in the families of ‘Ndrangheta, tells about the Friulian Pasolini who, through the language and traditions of the peasant world, experiences his first love affairs with some local young people. Contact with this reality also leads him to political commitment in the Communist Party and the experience of school teaching. Pier Paolo’s life flows through the voice of Nico Naldini, a poet and Pasolini’s cousin, revealing two inevitably connected life paths. Both, in those years, absorbed the aesthetic and erotic violence of an unknown world, which reveals itself in its harsh reality: a universe that will influence all of Pasolini’s subsequent work.
In the jury also the Italo-Argentine “39 Films” producer Alfredo Federico, producer of films such as Soledad, Take Way and Conversations with other women, entirely shot in Calabria, and Matteo Ferrarini, director and screenwriter, author of the documentary ETHBET (Tahir Square 10 years later: what remains of the Arab Spring) and the film, “The Last Cathedral”, made in January 2021 in co-production with Small Boss and Palacios Film.
The jury also awarded a special mention to the documentary film “Tony Driver” by Ascanio Petrini “for having been able to face the urgent problem of migration on the border between Mexico and the United States with great originality, without falling into the usual clichés and also winking with mastery of the legendary Italian Spaghetti Western film genre, transforming Tony’s daring reality into a high-profile cinematic work. Ascanio managed to introduce us to Tony in an intimate and honest way in a documentary with a great cinematographic language ”.
The award for best short film goes to “Mousie” by David Barlett, (England). The award is named after Shady Habash, the young Egyptian videomaker who died in solitary confinement in the Tora prison (Egypt), and it was awarded by the Migrantes Foundation.
“For having managed to tackle the issues of intolerance and prejudice through a never so timely black tale that masterfully elevates the story to a universal level, where the innocent gaze of the protagonist and her silences photograph the theater of a world in disarray made up of unscrupulous executioners as opposed to heroes as courageous as they are unknown. For the careful and essential direction, the progression of the pressing story and the engaging and exciting interpretation of its protagonists. Today more than ever we need stories like this. “
Mousie also won the school award organized by the “Pythagoras Scientific and Linguistic Lyceum” and “the Da Vinci-Nitti Higher Education Institute”, established partners of the festival as part of MyArt For School.
In the jury, for the short films section, Luigi D’Alife, documentary maker and director, author of “Milky Way” shot in Italy in 2020, which tells a story of solidarity towards migrants, through glimpses of life and animated graphic novels; Luca Coassin, director of photography, with over 400 productions to his credit and more than 15 international awards, and Severino Iuliano, a young Calabrian screenwriter with various scripts to his credit such as the feature film “Space Monkeys”, produced by Freak Factory and Rai Cinema and the short film “Lo Sport Nazionale”, produced by Lago Film.
The jury also awarded a special mention to Shero, by Claudio Casale.
“For the choice of dealing with difficult and complicated but very necessary subjects, and having done it by skilfully mixing the power of images and that of words. For the use of animations that accompany the story, managing to move and excite. For having placed the theme of visibility and the need to rewrite new narratives at the center of the story, putting the bodies back at the center, starting with those who have decided to come out of the hiding to which social conventions have forced them. Because acid can scar faces, but not dreams and courage. “
La Kasbah Association, promoter of the Festival, expresses great satisfaction for the success of this fifth edition and makes an appointment for the sixth edition, in the belief that it is increasingly necessary to continue to tell and share stories of resistance, denied rights and freedom reacquired through films, so that a better world is still possible.
Long live Cinema, Long Live MyArt!