Mohanad Hayal’s Haifa Street Wins the New Currents Prize at the 24th Busan International Film Festival
The 24th Busan International Film Festival concluded on the 12th of October by announcing the Vietnamese coming-of-age drama, Rom, by director Tran Thanh Huy, and Mohanad Hayal’s Iraqi film Haifa Street as the joint winners of the New Currents prize.
Haifa Street, which had its world premiere at Busan, narrates the bloody events that accompanied the 2006 civil war in Iraq, through a lurking sniper standing on the highest building of Haifa Street. The film was highly praised by filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf who said, “Haifa Street is a rare, brave and different Iraqi experience. While watching the film I felt I am in Haifa Street in Baghdad during the civil war, and death surrounds me.”
The 24th edition of the festival included an exceptional selection of Arab films that gained world-wide acclaim this year, including: Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven which had its international premiere as part of the official competition of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, where it won the FIPRISE award. Saudi director Haifa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate, which premiered as part of the main competition of the 76th Venice Film Festival.
The program also included Venice Film Festival’s Lion of The Future and El Gouna Film Festival’s (GFF) Golden Star winner You Will Die at Twenty, Amjad Abu Alala’s first cinematic experience. Jordanian director Dina Naser’s documentary Tiny Souls, which had its MENA premiere at the 3rd edition of GFF. 44th Toronto International Film Festival’s Audience Award Winner The Cave by Syrian director Feras Fayyad, which tells the story of a group of Syrian female doctors treating war victims in an underground hospital.