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New award honors Palestinian cinema

Filmlab, a local nonprofit backed by European partners, hopes the “Sunbird Prize” will grow to become the Palestinian version of the Oscars. A jury of four Palestinians and two European cinema experts chose Thursday night’s winners.

The jury awarded prizes, named after a local bird, to one short and one feature length film out of 80 total entries. A large number of local VIPs, including the Palestinian culture minister, attended the event.

Reflecting the immediate concerns of Palestinians, both of Thursday’s winners dealt with the conflict with Israel.

The short, entitled “Izriqaq (Blued),” tells the story of a man who kills his father, then leaves the body next to an Israeli checkpoint. Local villagers, believing the father was killed by Israeli troops, venerate him as a “martyr,” and his son gets away with the crime.