Iranian Director Makhmalbaf Wins Freedom to Create Prize

Filmmakers from Myanmar, Afghanistan also honored.

Last Updated: November 25, 2009 @ 11:49 AM

Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf ("Kandahar") won the Freedom to Create Prize on Wednesday, and dedicated his award to leading cleric Hossein Ali Montazeri and the popular opposition movement he supports. He also said he would use the $50,000 prize money to highlight injustice in Iran.

"I’ve been in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and India making films about Iran but from the outside," he told Reuters in London before receiving the annual award that honors artists working in difficult or dangerous environments. He left the country about five years ago.

The second-place prize, worth $15,000, went to the "Kumjing Storytellers," women from Myanmar’s largest minority group, who use dolls to tell the story of how they were forced to flee their homes by the military regime.

In third place, with a prize of $10,000, was female Afghan artist Sheenkai Alam Stanikzai, whose work highlights the oppression of women in Afghanistan and neighboring countries.

The prize money in all three cases is equally divided between the winner and an organization nominated by them.

Read more in Reuters.