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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

‘Gaza’s Tears’ wins Al Jazeera prize

Norwegian film director Vibeke Løkkeberg has won one of the main prizes up for grabs at the International Documentary Film Festival, organized by global news network Al Jazeera, for her film Gaza’s Tears.

Commenting to newspaper Aftenposten after her win, Løkkeberg said that “it is always gratifying and surprising to receive a prize, and it is very fun that the film was picked out by a jury from all over the world.” The film was awarded the Public Liberties and Human Rights Award on Easter Sunday in Doha, Qatar, and the director will receive the equivalent of NOK 58,000 (nearly USD 11,000) in prize money.

Gaza’s tears was Løkkeberg’s first film for 17 years when it was released in 2010. The film documents the Israeli attack on Gaza during late 2008 and early 2009 by following the stories of three children. It was described as “the ultimate antiwar film” by the Hollywood Reporter when it aired at the Toronto Film Festival. While the film has received international film festival attention and plaudits including the Gaza Film Festival Best Film Award 2010 and the Gothenberg Film Festival Audience Award 2011, some have criticized it for being biased, with Bernhard Henri Lévy, a French philosopher, calling it a “work of propaganda” in Aftenposten. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) showed the controversial film on television in March 2011, creating yet more debate around the work.

Six other Norwegian directors were featured in the festival, which is now in its seventh year. Løkkeberg also had an opportunity to meet with Al Jazeera’s editors while in Doha, and hopes they can “cooperate on new projects” together. She will soon travel to a number of other locations in order to show the film, including Egypt, Jerusalem, London, Melbourne and Stockholm.

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