The Ecumenical Jury at the 28th Montreal World Film Festival has awarded its prize to the feature film Hacala Hasurit (The Syrian Bride), an Israeli-French-German co-production by Jerusalem-born director Eran Riklis.
The Ecumenical Prize is given to the film that best combines artistic quality with an exploration of ethical, social and spiritual values.
The winning film, set in the Golan Heights, tells the story of a bride who will not be allowed to return to her Druze village once she crosses the border to be married in Syria. In its citation the jury called it a film that “confronts injustice and has universal significance … This film shows the courageous choices that have to be made in order to overcome the emotional and political barriers that separate families and peoples.”
The six members of the Ecumenical Jury, headed by Philip Lee from the World Association for Christian Communication, were appointed from Hong Kong, France, the United States, Canada, and Great Britain by the Roman Catholic agency SIGNIS and the Protestant organization Interfilm. Ecumenical juries are also selected for film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, and Locarno, Switzerland.
The Syrian Bride was a hit with critics and audiences. Immediately following the announcement of the Ecumenical Jury’s decision, the International Federation of Film Critics awarded its FIPRESCI Prize to the film. Early in August, director Mr. Riklis also picked up the Public’s Choice Award at Locarno ‘s international film festival.