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At the 37th Cairo International Film Festival, Bahraini film ‘The Sleeping Tree’ by eminent filmmaker Mohammed bin Rashed BuAli, was awarded the Horizons of Arab Cinema section award. This is BuAli’s first feature film. The Sleeping Tree is also the first Bahraini feature film to be made in the last 10 years. The film’s story and its characters entwine with one of the renowned symbols of the country, the Tree of Life. It took several years for BuAli and scriptwriter Fareed Ramadan to come up with the story of The Sleeping Tree to unravel different feelings that they wanted to stir amongst the audiences. In order to make a high quality feature film in Bahrain, both BuAli and Fareed Ramadan, worked with their co-producers for about two years to get adequate funds for the movie.

The film’s crew comprised around 100 people, mostly Bahrainis, who had little experience in film making. The shooting took place in Bahrain and went on for more than a month. Celebrated cinematographer Mohamed Maghraoui supervised the shooting.

BuAli said, “The Sleeping Tree discovers many entwined stories and subjects. The relationship between a man and his wife makes the centre of the plot. The film takes a close look at the development of marriages, the cultural aspects of Bahrain and its natural spots, life with a terminal illness and the relationship between cultural practice and religious values.”

Local sponsors of the movie were Gulf Air, GPIC, Al Amin Gardens, Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, House of Travel and Victory International Production.

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Among other honours, “Mediterranea” by Jonas Carpignano got the Golden Pyramid award. Plus, Koudous Seihon won the best actor award for the movie. Dagur Kari’s Icelandic comedy “Virgin Mountain” took the Silver Pyramid award, whilst “Paulina” by Santiago Mitre secured the Bronze. Romanian writer & director Corneliu Porumboiu  and French actress Louise Bourgoin were also bestowed with awards.

Members of the international jury consisted of filmmaker Paul Webster (UK), director Jonatan Relayze Chiang (Peru), actress Dalia Elbehiry (Egypt), actress Radhika Apte (India), director Marwan Hamed (Egypt), director George Ovashvili (Georgia), director Laila Marrakchi (Morocco) and producer Anne-Dominique Toussaint (France).

The 37th Cairo International Film Festival took place from November 10 to 20. Earlier in 2011 and 2013, it had been canceled owing to security reasons and insufficient funds.


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