Lebanese film scoops Cannes prize

Ely Dagher's Waves '98 was awared the Palme d'or for best short film.

Ely Dagher. (AFP/Valery Hache)

BEIRUT – A Lebanese movie has been awarded the Palme d’or at the world renowned Cannes Festival for best short film.


30-year old Ely Dagher—who not only directs films but also produces paintings and art installations—picked up the prize Sunday for “Waves ‘98.”


The 13-minute animated feature, which follows a young man’s path of discovery in Lebanon’s capital, beat seven other movies shortlisted for the prize. Over 4000 entries were submitted in to the category.


"Waves '98" by Ely Dagher. (YouTube/Festival De Cannes) 


“It was a very personal film, and it took me a long time to work out the structure,” Ely Dagher said in a press conference following the award ceremony.


The artist explained that he wrote the screenplay for the movie before deciding to make the film an animated one.


“I wanted the film to remain very abstract,” he told reporters.


The Lebanese filmmaker said he was working on another project, but did not go into detail about his upcoming work.


Dagher’s victory comes 24 years after Lebanese filmmaker Maroun Baghdadi picked up a prize in the 1991 Cannes Film Festival for his movie “Out of Life” which tells the story of a French photographer kidnapped during the Lebanese Civil War.


The Cannes Festival, which has been held annually in the French Riviera town since 1946, is considered one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

Ely Dagher receives the Palme d'or Sunday in Cannes. (AFP/Valery Hache)

It was a very personal film, and it took me a long time to work out the structure.