U.S. docu on Mideast wins Quebec nod


TORONTO -- A U.S. documentary about Israeli and Palestinians forging a nonviolent future grabbed the audience prize Sunday at the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal (RIDM), Quebec's largest documentary festival.

The feature-length documentary from Julia Bacha ("Control Room") and Ronit Avni, which portrays an Israeli settler, a Palestinian fighter, a bereaved Israeli mother and a wounded Palestinian ex-prisoner pressing for peace, was voted the best film by festival audiences.

Juried awards in Montreal included the Camera-Stylo Grand Prize going to Russian director Valery Solomin for "The Fisherman and the Dancing Girl," while the Camera at the Ready Award went to Quebec filmmakers Nadia Zouaoui and Carmen Garcia for "Nadia's Voyage."

Other award winners included first-time directors Simone Aaberg and Magnus Bejmar from Denmark earning the First Camera Award for "Smiling in a War Zone," a film about Aaberg, a pilot, breaking American airspace over Afghanistan to land a find a young Afghan girl who dreams of becoming a fighter pilot.

And the Ecocamera Award went to Austrian filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter for "Our Daily Bread," an unsettling film about how workers across Europe process olives, meat, tomatoes or salt for mass consumption.

The ninth annual RIDM festival, which opened Nov. 9 with the world premiere of Serge Giguere's "A force de reves" and closed Saturday night with Luc Beachamp's "Arthur's Paradise," unspoiled in all 118 documentaries from 31 countries.