Algerian road movie BARAKAT! was awarded the Best Feature Film at the Dubai International Film Festival last night (17DEC06).
Barakat!, which was awarded $50,000 (GBP25,640), was criticised by Arab film critics for being too political.
But competition co-ordinator MOHAMMED ROUDA defended the choice, saying, "Without a competition the festival is less exciting and since Arab cinema needs encouragement we decided to provide it with a good award to help directors keep going and make another movie."
Tunisian work VHS KAHLOUCHA triumphed in the Best Documentary category, while Make a Wish, a film about a young Palestinian girl's determination to buy a birthday cake, won the award for Best Short.
American director Oliver Stone was also honoured for lifetime achievement in the film industry at the third annual awards.