Bahman Tavoosi, The Names of the Flowers, 2019. Digital video, Color, sound; 79 minutes. Courtesy of Artist.

Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) announced winners of awards for exemplary narrative, documentary and experimental films at the third edition of its annual film festival, Sharjah Film Platform 3 (SFP3), held from 14 to 21 November 2020.

Here are the awards and the winners:

Best Narrative Feature

“The Name of the Flowers”, directed by Bahman Tavoosi

For decades, a retired schoolteacher on a remote village high on the Andes has been sharing with tourists her story of how she fed Ernesto “Ché” Guevara a bowl of soup and how he rewarded her with a poem hours before his execution. But as the government prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his death, more women step forward claiming the story as their own. Shot mostly as a series of still lives and featuring an enveloping sound design, Tavoosi’s feature film debut is reminiscent of Kiarostami’s work in its poetic portrait of a community left behind by history.

Best Narrative Short

“Stay Awake, Be Ready”, directed by Pham Thien An.

On a street corner a mysterious conversation among three young men at a street stalls. Meanwhile a traffic accident on a motorbike. The night brings together a sketch, a multi-colour frame of reality.

Best Documentary Feature

“Mothers of the Land”, directed by Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento

Mothers of the Land takes place in the context of climate change, in which Peru is predicted to be among the three most affected countries in the world. Female farmers in this highland region struggle to adapt to extreme changes in weather and the ravages these produce, by using both traditional and modern agricultural techniques that allow them to maximize clean energy.

Best Documentary Short

“I Have Seen Nothing”, I Have Seen All, directed by Yaser Kassab

After talking about the end of the war in Syria and the start of the reconstruction phase, Yaser and his family find themselves compelled to deal with the transfer of graves from public parks in Aleppo.

Best Experimental Feature

“The Witch’s Cauldron”, directed by Branislav Jankic

The Witch’s Cauldron is a performance-based feature length film that explores the repetitive pattern of violence in the Balkans—its historic conflicts, as well as the contemporary tensions and contradictions which remain to this very day. In the film, a live audience, consisting of different ethnic and religious groups from the Balkans, sit in a circle around a MMA fighting cage in which a single narrator recites six stories about six significant historical events impacting the Balkans. Following each story, a real mixed martial arts fight occurs between Balkan fighters from different ethnic and religious groups—shot and framed to reveal not only the violence humans are capable of, but also manifesting the poetry of movement, mutual respect, and the very tangible intimacy of two human bodies struggling. As each ethnic group in the audience cheers for their own, the recitations and the music gradually give rise to a frail and momentary sense of togetherness, reliving shared trauma and the hard work toward togetherness.

Best Experimental Short

“Fasten Your Seatbelts While Seated”, directed by Samir Radwan

A man remembers that he wanted to fly before knowing how to run and wonders why.

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