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'Tatsumi,' 'Habibi' Take Dubai Festival Honors

Eric Khoo and Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Rory Daniel

Jafar Panahi’s “This Is Not A Film” wins documentary prize as 8th Dubai International Film Festival.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Eric Khoo’s Tatsumi won best film in the Muhr AsiaAfrica competition and at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival (Dec 7-14), while Susan Youssef’s Habibi took best film in the Muhr Arab section.

Tatsumi, an animated biography of Japanese manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi, is South Korea’s official entry for next year’s foreign language Oscar race. The film also won the best composer prize in Dubai for Khoo’s teenage son, Christopher.

Other multiple award winners in Dubai were The Last Friday, directed by Yahya Alabdallah; Hakim BelabbesBoiling Dreams; Japanese comedy The Woodsman And The Rain from Shuichi Okita and another foreign language Oscar hopeful, Turkish crime drama Once Upon A Time In Anatolia from Nuri Bilge Ceylan. German holiday film When Santa Fell To Earth won the people's choice award. 

In what could be seen as a political gesture, Dubai’s jury gave first prize in its Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary section to This Is Not a Film, the doc Iranian director Jafar Panahi shot in secret on an iPhone while under house arrest for alleged anti-government activities.  

The eighth addition of the Dubai fest was by far the largest, opening with the world premiere of Tom Cruise-starrer Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol and featuring such VIPs as German director Werner Herzog, who won a lifetime achivement honor, and Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra.

Find a full list of winners here.