Norwegian documentary wins top prize at Amsterdam’s IDFA

Kurdish-Norwegian director Zaradasht Ahmed’s Nowhere to Hide named Best Feature-Length Documentary at the world’s largest documentary film festival.

Kurdish-Norwegian director Zaradasht Ahmed won Norway’s first top prize at Amsterdam’s IDFA – the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam – when his Nowhere to Hide yesterday (23 November) received the €12,500 award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at Amsterdam’s Stadsschouwburg theatre.

The 29th edition of the world’s largest documentary showcase with 3,000 professional participants, which closes on Sunday, presented a programme of more than 300 films, including 104 world premieres. Norway was represented by a record number of nine entries, four of them screening for the first time.

Nowhere to Hide – an eyewitness report on the historical events in Iraq after the Americans left (2011), told by a male nurse, Nori Sharif – was filmed over five years by the main character himself, who was directed from a distance (Ahmed was in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan).

”We gave him the camera and the knowledge,” explained the director. And Sharif, also a family father, covered five years of dramatic change, providing unique access into one of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible areas – the “triangle of death” in central Iraq.

”There are those films which are wonderful to see and there are films that the world needs to see. The film we choose is both of these things. The experience was immersive and left us deeply touched. The director respected the unique perspective that only this subject could have, and in doing so he gave us an unprecedented window into the real life lasting consequences of war,” said IDFA’s international jury.

 

Nowhere to Hide was scripted by Ahmed, Hans Husum and Terje Lind Bjørsvik, and produced by Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas for Norway’s Ten Thousand Images. New York’s East Village Entertainment handles international sales. - Born and raised in northern Iraq, the writer-director has worked extensively in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia; he tells his own story in Fata Morgana, made for Swedish pubcaster SVT in 2013.


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