‘Baghdad Messi’ wins top prize at 2014 BIFF
A touching documentary on the sporting dreams of a schoolboy living in war-torn Iraq is in contention for an Oscar award after walking away with the top prize at the Bermuda International Film Festival last night.
‘Baghdad Messi' — which focuses on the hopes of ten-year-old football fanatic Hamoudi — won the festival's best international short film award, and will now be put forward as a contender for an Academy Award of Merit in Hollywood next year.
Other winners last night included ‘My Father's Truck', which picked up a special jury prize, and French film ‘Delicate Gravity' which won the audience choice award.
And Bermudian producer, director and writer Arthur Rankin Jr. was posthumously honoured with its Prospero Award for lifetime achievement. Mr Rankin, who died in January at the age of 89, was internationally renowned for his animated children's holiday programmes produced with US partner Jules Bass, including 1964's ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer' — the longest-running, highest-rated special in the history of American network television.
Aside from his television specials and cartoon series, Mr Rankin was also involved in the production of more than a dozen feature films during his career, including two made-for-TV movies shot completely on location in Bermuda: the 1978 cult classic ‘The Bermuda Depths' and 1980's ‘The Ivory Ape'.