Lecturer’s ‘miracle sheep’ documentary named best UK film

Film poster for Ali and His Miracle Sheep

Article by: David Millett

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A documentary film co-produced by Ravensbourne BA (Hons) Digital Television Production Senior Lecturer Mostafa Nagy has been awarded ‘Best UK Film’ following its premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2021.

Sheffield Doc/Fest, an international film and arts festival, is recognised as one of the top three documentary festivals in the world. This year it presented 55 world premieres alongside many other films. Films from 57 countries featuring 63 languages were represented.

Ali and His Miracle Sheep’, directed by Iraqi filmmaker Maythem Ridha, premiered at the festival on Saturday 5 June and was selected as ‘Best Film in UK Competition’ by a panel of judges. It was co-produced by Mostafa along with Huda Al-Kadhimi and Haider Jalukhan.

Film poster for Ali and His Miracle Sheep

The coming-of-age tale follows Ali, a mute nine-year-old boy who must take his favourite sheep, Kirmeta, for sacrifice. Over their perilous 400km journey to the shrine of an ancient saint, they bear witness to both the natural beauty and the war-torn landscapes of Iraq.

Kirmeta is proclaimed to be a ‘miracle sheep’ after he appears to recover from death and spring to his feet after collapsing from exhaustion. His reputation accompanies the pair as they wrestle with the rest of their fateful journey, spurred on by the prayers and ancient Sumerian lament of Ali’s grandmother.

Its premiere came after a tough year for the movie industry, which has seen cinemas and public showings of films severely impacted by pandemic restrictions.

“It's amazing to be part of this winning team that worked tirelessly to achieve the best documentary film in the UK film competition,” Mostafa told the Ravensbourne news team. “Taking part in this year’s prestigious Sheffield Doc/Fest was a real privilege."

Ali and other pilgrims push Kirmeta the sheep in a wheelchair