Canadian co-production Inch’Allah has scored a special jury prize at the Beijing International Film Festival.
Quebec director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s film about a Quebec doctor working among Palestinians in the West Bank was the only Canadian film in competition at the festival, which featured a slate of Hollywood and Russian films this year as well as mainland-shot features.
An additional seven Canadian films, including Beat Down and The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom, were screened in the Panorama section of the festival.
Toronto International Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey was a member of the seven-person jury that judged the films. It is the first year the Beijing festival has presented prizes.
Chinese film Back to 1942, Feng Xiaogang’s historical epic about a devastating famine in Second World War-era Hunan, was the big winner, taking best feature and best visual effects honours.
Inch’Allah stars Canadian actress Evelyne Brochu as a doctor working in a women’s health clinic on the Palestinian side of the wall that divides the West Bank, while living in an apartment on the Israeli side. She is friends with both an Israeli woman serving her military service and a Palestinian woman living in poverty, but as an outsider, she struggles against being drawn into the simmering conflict between the two sides.
It previously won the Fipresci prize at the Berlin Film Festival and director Barbeau-Lavalette was recognized as the 2012 artist for peace by the group Les artistes pour la paix (Artists for Peace.)