Five talented Arab filmmakers were crowned winners Monday night at the BBC Arabic Festival 's closing awards ceremony gala in London's iconic BBC Radio Theater.
First to take the crown was Egyptian director Aly El-Sotohy, winning in the Reportage category for his film "Sisa, Iron Lady."
El-Sotohy brought to the screen the real life story of Sisa Gaber Abu Douh, the 65-year-old Egyptian woman who disguised herself as a man for more than 40 years in Luxor to support her daughter after her husband died, as women couldn't work in manual labor jobs at the time.
Next up was award-winning Iraqi filmmaker Hadi Mahood, winning in the Short Documentary category for his film "Safwan Market."
With no budget and using only a mobile phone and a camera, Mahood visually documented the struggle that went on inside the largest marketplace in Iraq's Samawa after the government decided to demolish the predominantly Shiite area to build a Sunni mosque.
Then it was Moroccan director Randa Maroufi's turn, winning in the Short Film category for her documentary "The Great Safae."
The fictional documentary was inspired by a transgender who worked as a domestic servant for the Maroufi's family and tackles social views on gender.
Finally, former Syrian reservist and filmmaker Ziad Kalthoum won in the Feature Documentary category for his film "The Immortal Sergeant," a documentary offering a glimpse into the tragic conditions endured by Syrians on a typical day in 2012.
The night not only celebrated film-making talents however, as Jordanian filmmaker Jumana Saadeh won the BBC Arabic Young Journalist Award for her film "Second Hand Refugee."
Her documentary tells the heartbreaking story of a Palestinian family that experienced the tragedies of forced displacement not once, but three times in three different Middle Eastern conflicts over the years.
It is worth noting that three of the five winning films were presented in the festival's "Sex, Sect and Stigma" session, which presented five fiction and non-fiction stories exploring issues about gender and religion in the region.
The festival was launched on Friday and featured 20 directors and their works in presentation and discussion sessions.