Dubai Film Fest: Yemeni Drama Takes Top Award

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Khadija Al-Salami

Jury head Lee Daniels applauded winning director Khadija Al-Salami

A drama about a Yemeni child bride picked up the top prize at the Dubai International Film Festival.

I Am Nujoom, Age 10 and Divorced, adapted from a book of the same name, won the best fiction prize for Khadija Al-Salami at a ceremony held at the Burj Al Arab, the Middle East city’s iconic sail-shaped hotel.

Paris-based Al-Salami, considered Yemen’s first female director and who as a child had herself escaped from an abusive arranged marriage, had previously attended the festival with a series of documentaries, including 2012’s The Scream, which looked at the role of women in her country’s 2011 civil uprising.

Lee Daniels, who headed up the main jury, was on hand to give out the prize, having donned a traditional white Arabic robe and red headdress to mark the occasion.

"I love this movie so much," he said of the winning feature film.

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The best non-fiction film went to local Emirati director Nujoom Al Ghanem for Nearby Sky, while the jury prize was awarded to Palestinian director Salim Abu Jabal for Roshmia. Special mentions went to Letter to the King, I’m Dead and The Council.

The 11th edition of the festival draws to a close Wednesday with the regional premiere of Into The Woods.

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