A Palestinian film that tackles the controversial subject of suicide bombs has won a top US cinema award, a Golden Globe for best foreign language film.
Abu-Assad (c) used the talents of little-known Palestinian actors
Paradise Now is about two friends from Nablus in the West Bank who volunteer to bomb Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv.
They get separated on the morning of their mission and have to make their own choices about what to do.
Director Hanny Abu-Assad said the prize was recognition "that the Palestinians deserve their liberty and equality".
Other nominees in the category were two Chinese films, Kung Fu Hustle and Master of the Crimson Armour, and Joyeux Noel from France and Tsotsi from South Africa.
Mr Abu-Assad's film has also been accepted as the Palestinian entry for the foreign language category for the Oscars in March.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Abu-Assad thanked distributor Warner Independent Pictures for its "faith and courage" in bringing the film in the US.
In an interview with the BBC News website last year, he said the film was a thriller that offered insight into the conditions and motives that create suicide bombers.
"The act of killing yourself at the same time as killing your enemy... is the most horrifying thing that anyone can do and it is made all the more horrifying because little is known about the people who carry out such extreme violence," he said.
The film is fictional but was researched using interviews with bombers' relatives, a lawyer who defended failed bombers and Israeli police reports. It was also incredibly difficult to make, Mr Abu-Assad said, under the conditions of the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, and Israel's occupation of the West Bank.
Mr Abu-Assad faced criticism about the subject matter from some people in Israel, although he received financial backing from the Israeli Film Fund.
Some Palestinian militant factions also objected to the ambiguities suggested in characters who they want to be portrayed as "superheroes", Mr Abu-Assad said.