Festive closure of 13th edition of World Cinema Amsterdam

Opponent awarded Jury Award, Sira with Exchange Award

A festive awards ceremony tonight brought the 13th edition of World Cinema Amsterdam to an impressive close. The prestigious World Cinema Jury Award went to Opponent, a film by Swedish-Iranian director Milad Alami. The film tells the story of a family fleeing from Iran to Sweden, where they face new challenges. The World Cinema Exchange Award was given to Sira, an extraordinary film about a nomad seeking revenge, made by director Apolline Traoré from Burkina Faso.

World Cinema Jury Award

The leading jury, comprising Iranian-Dutch director Nafissa Nia, versatile artist Dennis Overeem and filmmaker Jelani Isaacs, unanimously declared Opponent the winner of the coveted World Cinema Jury Award. The film, directed by Milad Alami, was praised for its unique story and compelling artistic execution. Director Alami will receive a prize of 5,000 euros for his next film project.

This film embodies the highest caliber of cinema and skillfully blending craftsmanship with creative expression. It features a distinctive, albeit universal, narrative, underpinned by a profoundly authentic script, nuanced direction, and indelible performances. The cinematography immerses the audience completely yet remains unobtrusive; we felt as though we were living each moment. The exquisitely nuanced and tender visual representation, which weaves together themes of betrayal, hatred, empathy, and the longing to live, love, and be loved, has led to remarkable performances from an ensemble cast spanning all ages. The film holds a timeless quality, exploring emotions with depth and sincerity. It's a whisper of love and belonging, mesmerizing, powerful and beautifully crafted.

World Cinema Exchange Award

In association with 'The Film Conversation', the honourable World Cinema Exchange Award has been given to Sira. This poignant film, made by director Apolline Traoré, tells the story of Sira, a young nomad determined to find justice in an area torn apart by violence. The film shows powerful resilience and tenacity, and has deservedly received international recognition, including at the Berlinale 2023 and the Fespaco Pan African Film Festival. And now this recognition is crowned with the World Cinema Exchange Award.

This story combines stunning cinematography and a deeply touching story. It’s a heroic story, a story of courage and hope when all hope seems to have faded away. We were impressed by the multilayered characters and relationships that explore both inner as well as communal conflicts. It’s inspiring and challenging the viewer at the same time

Screening for the last time

The winning films can still be seen on Sunday during World Cinema Amsterdam, Opponent at 14.15 at Rialto De Pijp, at 19.00 at Rialto VU and at 21.15 at De Balie. Sira at 16.30 at Rialto VU and at 18.45 at Rialto De Pijp.

The World Cinema Audience Award will be announced on Sunday evening when all audience votes have been counted.