"The Runner" is no runner up, Samer NsrAllah's short film wins TROPFEST Arabia
A young Syrian filmmaker has won the third annual edition of TROPFEST Arabia for his film The Runner. Samer Nasrallah was awarded first prize by a judging panel of five celebrities from around the Middle East and North Africa, including: Emirati filmmaker Ali F. Mustafa; Tunisian actress Durra Zarrouk; Syria’s popular actor Basel Khayat; renowned Kuwaiti actor Khaled Amin; and Jordanian film producer Rula Nasser.
The seven-minute long winning film is about a former Olympic gold-medal hurdler with an illness keeping him housebound. The Runner was chosen from 16 finalists.
Nasrallah, who spoke over the phone from Syria, said: “It is such a privilege that the jury have chosen ‘The Runner’ as the winner of this year’s festival because all of the finalist films were really amazing, and the competition was very strong! I am very honoured and humbled to be recognized for my work. I’m also proud that Elyas Rezqallah who starred in ‘The Runner’ won the award for Best Actor. I can’t wait to go to Los Angeles to meet film industry professionals. I really look forward to continuing my career in the filmmaking industry.”
Nasrallah received a prize of $11,000, a trip to meet industry professionals in Los Angeles courtesy of the Motion Picture Association and a Nikon D-SLR 7100 camera as part of the prize. The runner up, Kholoud Alnajjar from Kuwait, who made The Three Pyjamas was awarded $6,500, a trip to meet industry professionals during 2014 Cannes Film Festival courtesy of Variety, and a Nikon D-SLR 7100 camera. The third place contestant, Andria Zakria Anwer filmmaker of Hard Time, won $4,000, an internship with MBC2, and a Nikon D-SLR 7100 camera.
Elyas Rezqallah (The Runner) and Tuqa Mcawi (Daye) were awarded best actor and best actress, and received $1,500 cash prize and a Nikon D-SLR 7100 camera each, a training workshop for ‘Shooting on D-SLR’ delivered by Nikon.
Four films received special mentions from the jury including: Yadi Bardan by Emirati filmmaker, Fatima AlDhaheri; Adults Only by Yemeni filmmaker, Mohamed Al Asbahy; The Journey by Algerian filmmaker, Mohamed Iselm Cherchali and Unvisited by Lebanese filmmaker, Gilbert Kahawaty.