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“Valley of Saints” director Musa Syeed snagged the Special Jury Prize here Dec. 17 at the 9th Annual Dubai International Film Festival in Dubai.
Syeed grew up in America but said Kashmir has always remained a big part of his childhood. The film previously won prizes at the Sundance Film Festival and has had a successful run at various other international film festivals.
Syeed, who has previously directed the short film “A Son’s Sacrifice” and co-directed the documentary film “The Calling,” said his debut feature was a way of connecting with Kashmir.
“I was born in America and I visited the place when I was four years old. I went again to Kashmir a year before shooting this film and that was my introduction to Kashmir as an adult again,” said Syeed.
Syeed said he chose the title “Valley of Saints” because he wanted to delve into the spiritual history and culture of a place that has often been ignored in other films. .
The festival screened 158 films from 60 countries across 43 languages.