The 19th edition of the prestigious Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) concluded on Sunday with the awards ceremony where a movie from Kyrgyzstan about an old writer who believes in the redeeming power of literature, The Road to Eden, walked away with the top prize.

Highly anticipated Bangladeshi films Unoponchash Batash and Gondi won awards in their specific categories.

An eclectic mix of international entries were recognized at the awards, with films from Central Asia including a string of ex-Soviet republics especially prominent. Apart from the Kyrgyz top prize, entries from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia were recognized in different categories.

Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud handed over the awards to the recipients on Sunday at the concluding ceremony of the 19th DIFF at the Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum.

Representing Kyrgyzstan, the film titled Akyrky Koch (The Road to Eden) won the award for Best Film in the "Asian Competition" category. Directed by Kyrgyz directors Bakyt Mukul and Dastan Zhapar Uulu, the film had its world premiere in the 24th edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF), Estonia in 2020.

Five more awards were presented in this category, as the Best Scriptwriting Award went to Nasim Ahmadpour and Sharam Mokri for the Iranian film Jenayat-e bi deghat (Careless Crime), directed by Shahram Mokri; the award for the Best Cinematography went to Galbadrakh Batmunkh for the film The Woman, directed by Otgonzorig Batchuluun (Mongolia); Best Actor Nejat Isler for the film 9,75, directed by Uluc Bayraktar (Turkey); Best Actress Meruert Subbusinova for the film Mariam, directed by Sharipa Urazbayeva (Kazakhstan) and the award for the Best Director went to Ksenia Lagutina for the film Farida, a joint production from Azerbaijan and Russia.

Best Audience Award in the "Bangladesh Panorama'' section was awarded to the Sabyasachi Chakraborty - Suborna Mustafa starrer film Gondi, directed by Fakhrul Arefeen Khan. The prestigious Best Film Award by FIPRESCI Jury in the same section was awarded to Unoponchash Batash (Incomplete Breath), directed by Masud Hasan Ujjal.

The "Women Filmmakers Section" in the 19th edition of DIFF named a total of four awards this year. The award for the Best Director in the Women Filmmakers Section went to Margarida Paiva for the film A Røbba Gnor (The Little Black Dress), jointly produced by Norway and Italy; Best Short Film Award went to the film Tirishko, directed by Shakiba Khaleghi (Iran), the award for the Best Documentary went to the film Forbidden Children, directed by Evdokia Moskvina as a joint production from Russia and Syria and the Special Mention Award was given to the short film Incidents- Way Home, directed by Jessica Laurén (Sweden).

Several other awards were presented to the winners at the ceremony. The Badal Rahman Award for Best Children's Film was achieved by Taganok Team (Directed by Ainur Askarov, Russia); Best Feature Film in the "Spiritual Film Section" was awarded to the film Senior Citizen (Cyprus), directed by Marinos Kartikkis and Best Documentary in this section went to Sunless Shadows, a joint production from Iran and Norway, directed by Mehrdad Oskouei.

The festival Director and President of Rainbow Film Society Ahmed Mostofa Jamal announced that the 20th Dhaka International Film Festival will be held on January 15-23, 2022.

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