78th International Film Festival Venedig

01.09.2021 to 11.09.2021
INZTERFILLM Jury Venice 2021

The INTERFILM Jury Venice 2021 in the festival garden (© Gianna Urizio)

The 10th INTERFILM Prize for the Promotion of Interreligious Dailogue was awarded by the INTERFILM jury in Venice 2021 to "Amira" by Mohamed Diab, which was shown in the competition section "Orizzonti". Shot in Jordan, the film tells the bitter story of a torn Palestinian family. It also received the Enrico Fulchignoni Award from UNESCO and the Laterna Magica Award from the Italian Youth Film Clubs. The Golden Lion went to "L'Événement" by Audrey Diwan from France, which was also awarded by the Jury of International Film Critics (Fipresci). Silver Lions were won by Paolo Sorrentino for "È stato la mano de Dio" (The Hand of God, Jury Grand Prix) and Jane Campion for "The Power of the Dog" (Best Director).

With a film by Pedro Almodovár, "Madres paralelas", the 78th Venice International Film Festival wwas opened on the 1st September 2021. The INTERFILM jury awarded its "Prize for the Promotion of Interreligious Dialogue" for the 10th time. It considers films from both the International Competition and the "Orizzonti" section. This prize is intended to encourage films that strengthen understanding, respect, sympathy and peace between people of different origins, histories and religions and thus set an example against conflict, violence and oppression. INTERFILM, as stated in the statutes of the award, thus follows the vision of connecting cinema and church, cultures and religions.

The winners of the past years were "Girimunho" (Swirl) from Brazil, "Wadjda" from Saudi Arabia, "Philomena" from Great Britain, "Far From Men" from France, "Wednesday, May 9" from Iran, "White Sun" from Nepal, "Oblivion Verses" from Chile, "Tel Aviv on Fire" from Israel and "Un fils" from Tunisia.

At the award ceremony jury president Piet Halma said: "According to our jury dialogue between people and countries is essential for a good understanding for one another. Respecting human rights against all forms of pressure and xenophobia is a challenge for all of us. One of the main issues during this festival was the neglected voice of women. On the shortlist of films worth rewarding ended Vidblysk (Ukraine), Il Buco (Italy) and Amira (Egypt). They were chosen from the official competition - Venezia 78 and the Orizzonti section. The INTERFILM Jury has specific criteria related to interreligious dialogue. Our main aim is that we hope that the chosen film will contribute to a better understanding between religions."

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Directed by:

Amiras father, Nawar,  a Palestinian,  is imprisoned for life in an Israeli prison. For the Israeli he is a terrorist, for the Palestinians he is a hero. 17 year old Amira was born although her mother, Mary,  did not have had sex with her father Nawar. His sperm was smuggled out of the prison. During the course of the film Amira discovers with drastic consequences who she really is.

The film is about walls between people and questions how enemies can live together.

Amira is not so much a political film, but moreover a personal story. Women find their own voice in a male dominated society against the background of the political situation of the Middle East.

The film also questions who we really are. Is it a matter of nature or nurture?

Amira is based on a real story about approximately one hundred people who were in a similar situation as Amira.