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Sharjah Art Foundation announces winners of the Sharjah Film Platform 4

Sharjah Art Foundation has announced the winners of the Sharjah Film Platform 4 (SFP4) awards for outstanding short and feature length films in the experimental, documentary and narrative categories at the annual festival’s closing ceremony on Saturday.

The films submitted for competition were selected from an international open call as well as first and second time filmmakers were juried by leading filmmakers and industry professionals.

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Sharjah Film Platform 4 featured screenings of over 50 films, including world and regional premieres, talks, and masterclasses with award-winning filmmakers as well as workshops for children.

This year’s festival also included two special programs: ‘Director in Focus’ highlighting the work of award-winning Palestinian director Michel Khleifi, and ‘Her Journey,’, presented in partnership with Istanbul Modern, exploring complex, women-centric stories in Turkish cinema through 10 feature-length, documentary and short films.

Competition winners

‘Fire in the Mountains’ by Atjipal Singh won in the category of Best Narrative Feature Film:. The jury celebrated the director’s use of well-crafted storytelling noting that, “the director is painting a portrait of an isolated community where a woman is confronted with corruption and sorcery while struggling to make a better life for her family.”

‘Myth of Manila’ by Janus Victoria was judged the Best Narrative Feature Film. Speaking about the film, the jury appreciated, “the blending of documentary-like scenes with social realist drama in this film that uses dark humor to speak about superstition and the alienation of a woman in Manila during the pandemic.”

‘Dance With A Bullet’ by Dhyaa Joda won the Best Documentary Feature Film award. The jury found this film an unusually strong portrait of a young man forced to leave his homeland and start again in another land commenting that, “it offers a new perspective on the impact of war and migration on the soul. It’s a visually beautiful film, full of emotion and the beauty of dance, which captures the tragedy of the country itself and the pain suffered within each family.”

‘Galb’Elchaouf ‘ by Abdessamad El Montassir won the Best Documentary Short Film award. This film impressed the jury as, “a technically impressive, poetic and thematically coherent short which made full use of the short form. It evokes the mystery and magic of the Sahara Desert, which hides a tragic struggle for freedom. The film-maker captures the connection between the human struggle and the land, and he makes us feel that the desert itself is crying for his people.”

‘The Timekeepers of Eternity’ by Aristotelis Maragkos was judged the Best Experimental Feature Film. The jury were captivated by the appropriation of the 1995 Stephen King TV movie ‘The Langoliers,’ describing the film as, “a visual experiment that turns into a paper nightmare. Combining animation with black/white footage, the strong editing and its visual effects make it a unique cinematic work.”

‘The Sky Oscillates Between Eternity and Its Immediate Consequences’ by Nadim Choufi won in the category of Best Experimental Short Film. The jury described it as, “A visually striking film which takes the complexities of the present to envision a future. The film has a compelling narrative construct and is a daring experiment about the notion of time.”

The jury also awarded Honourable Mentions to: ‘I Bit My Tongue’ by Nina Khada (Documentary Short), ‘Zahorí’ by Marí Alessandrini (Narrative Feature), and ‘The Clocks’ by Ecem Arslanay and Yiğit Tanel Kaçar (Experimental Short).

The jury members were Bani Khoshnoudi (artist and filmmaker); Akosua Adoma Owusu (filmmaker); Talal Derki (filmmaker); Lamia Joreige (artist, filmmaker); Bettina Steinbrügge (Director, Kunstverein In Hamburg); Halil Altindere (artist, filmmaker); Mike Goodridge (film producer); Renata Santoro (Head of Programming, Giornate Degli Autori); and Hala Lotfy (filmmaker).

A jury of filmmakers and industry experts also announced the winner of this year’s Pitching Forum – Yaser Al Neyadi for his script ‘From 8 to 6.’
Al Neyadi was awarded Dh.200,000 to support the production of his feature-length Arabic language screenplay.

The Pitching Forum is a part of SFP’s Industry Hub, which returned for its third year and is supported by Sharjah Media City (SHAMS). The Industry Hub offers filmmakers opportunities to develop their projects, receive production funding and secure vital distribution support for completed films through the Virtual Film Distribution Platform.

Read more: Saudi Arabia’s Film Commission launches strategy to develop film and cinema sector

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Lindsay Lohan celebrates birthday as married woman to Dubai resident Bader Shammas

Actress Lindsay Lohan is celebrating her 36th birthday on Saturday as a married woman.

The “Freaky Friday” star said she was the “luckiest woman in the world” in an Instagram post Friday that pictured her with financier Bader Shammas, who had been her fiance.

“I am stunned that you are my husband,” Lohan said in the post, adding that “every woman should feel like this everyday.”

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The couple had announced their engagement last November. People magazine and Entertainment Tonight confirmed there had been a wedding, but no details were offered.

While still single a few years ago, Lohan told Entertainment Tonight that she was looking for “a smart businessman” and someone who doesn’t like the spotlight. Shammas’ Instagram account is private.

The “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” actress and sometimes singer has worked through some sobriety issues in recent years, and has recently filmed a romantic comedy that is due to be released on Netflix later this year.

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Dutch university gets cyber ransom money back with interest

A Dutch university that fell victim to a massive ransomware attack has partly received back its stolen money, which in the meantime more than doubled in value, a news report said on Saturday.

The southern Maastricht University in 2019 was hit by a large cyberattack in which criminals used ransomware, a type of malicious software that locks valuable data and can only be accessed once the victim pays a ransom amount.

“The criminals had encrypted hundreds of Windows servers and backup systems, preventing 25,000 students and employees from accessing scientific data, library and mail,” the daily De Volkskrant said.

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The hackers demanded 200,000 euros ($208,000) in bitcoins.

“After a week the university decide to accede to the criminal gang’s demand,” the paper said.

“This was partly because personal data was in danger of being lost and students were unable to take an exam or work on their theses,” it said.

Dutch police traced part of the ransom paid to an account belonging to a money launderer in Ukraine.

Prosecutors in 2020 seized this man’s account, which contained a number of different crypto currencies including part of the ransom money paid by Maastricht.

“When, now after more than two years, it was finally possible to get that money to the Netherlands, the value had increased from 40,000 euros to half-a-million euros,” the paper said.

Maastricht University will now get the 500,000 euros ($521,000) back.

“This money will not go to a general fund, but into a fund to help financially strapped students,” Maastricht University ICT director Michiel Borgers said.

The investigation into the hackers responsible for the attack on the university is still ongoing, De Volkskrant added.

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Cyberattack hits Norway, pro-Russian hacker group fingered

Explainer: EU agrees rulebook for ‘Wild West’ crypto markets

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Singer R. Kelly sues Brooklyn jail for putting him on suicide watch

R. Kelly on Friday sued the Brooklyn jail that has housed him since his racketeering and sex crimes conviction, saying it wrongly put him on suicide watch after he received a 30-year prison sentence despite knowing he was not suicidal.

In a complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court, the 55-year-old multiplatinum R&B singer said officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center ordered the watch after his June 29 sentencing “solely for punitive purposes” and because he was a “high-profile” inmate.

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Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean quoted a prosecutor as saying the jail’s legal counsel had told her that “per the psychology department, is on a psych alert for various reasons, such as age, crime, publicity and sentencing.” No timetable was provided.

Bonjean wasn’t satisfied with the explanation. “Simply put, MDC Brooklyn is run like a gulag,” she wrote.

Kelly said the “harsh conditions” he faced led to “severe mental distress,” and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment that violated the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment.

He is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, though the docket suggests Kelly is seeking $100 million.

The jail did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Known for the 1996 Grammy-winning hit “I Believe I Can Fly,” Kelly was convicted last September on one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which bars transporting people across state lines for prostitution.

Prosecutors said Kelly exploited his stardom and wealth over two decades to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex, with the help of his entourage.

Kelly said he was also put on suicide watch after his conviction.

Ghislaine Maxwell, another inmate at the Brooklyn jail, was placed on suicide watch on June 24, four days before being sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls.

Maxwell’s lawyer said the British socialite had been given a “suicide smock” and deprived of clothing, toothpaste and soap though she too was not suicidal.

Friday’s filings did not say what specific conditions Kelly faced.

Kelly still faces an August trial in Chicago federal court on child pornography and obstruction charges, and various state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

Read more:

R&B singer R. Kelly handed 30-year prison sentence for sex crimes

UK prosecutors charge actor Kevin Spacey with sex crimes

Ghislaine Maxwell handed 20-year prison sentence for sex trafficking

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