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Nahom Abraham from Eritrea has won the top prize for best film, and $5,000, in the Berlinale’s 2023 NEFTI award for his film Home, a drama about a couple longing to be reunited.
Mihk Vergara and Miko Livelo from the Philippines took the NEFTI Audience Viewers Choice award, along with the $2,000 prize for You Are Gathered Here Today, a story about a man who returns home to the Philippines to bury his father and reunite with his best friends.
The third finalist was Zoulikha Tahar from Algeria for her film Leila’s Night Of Joy, about a girl who, on her 25th birthday, finally stands up for herself and takes her life into her own hands.
A panel of judges, including actress Vivica A. Fox, Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty) and Fox/Disney President, of feature post-production Ted Gagliano, picked the NEFTI winners together with last year’s competition winner Minenhle Luthuli, selected the three finalists.
The NEFTI awards, sponsored by Austria’s NEFT Vodka and backed by the Berlinale’s European Film Market, the Durban Film Mart, and the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA), are designed to celebrate, and challenge, filmmakers from emerging economic regions to showcase their creative skills and to expand their reach into regions that may otherwise not have been available to them. While the short films did not have to be about NEFT, they all had to include the vodka brand in a way other than product placement. The only other criteria for were that all films must be non-violent and non-political.
The next NEFTI competition, NEFTI Africa, isopen only to applicants living on the continent or African territories. Applications open on May 1. There are also plans for aNEFTI All-Stars competition, where the winners from all NEFTI events create new films to compete for a NEFTI All-Stars prize.
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