Dubai film festival partners with Beirut DC

Lebanon-based org promotes indie filmmakers

CANNES -- The Dubai International Film Festival has inked a strategic partnership with Beirut DC, a Lebanon-based organization that promotes independent filmmaking, to strengthen local documentary filmmaking skills.

DIFF will provide a financial incubating fund of $10,000 to Beirut DC's Documentary Course, which is aimed at inspiring young film professionals to refine and showcase their skills.

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The selected project will be presented at Dubai Film Connection, the co-production film market hosted at DIFF 2010, for potential financial backing and technical support to execute a full-fledged doc.

At a luncheon in Cannes on Sunday, DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya said that the partnership with Beirut DC is a testament to the strong community outreach of the festival.

"One of the founding objectives of DIFF is to promote regional filmmaking talent," she said. "Through collaborations with committed organizations like Beirut DC, we can reach out to the creative community and assist them in realizing their dream."

Eliane Raheb of Beirut DC added that Beirut DC has been focused on hosting training workshops "to encourage documentary filmmaking in the Arab world."

As a partner in Documentary Workshop: Two Sides of the Coin, DIFF will attend the final pitch session that will take place during the Arab Film Festival -- Cinema Days of Beirut, which is organized by Beirut DC to select a project for the Dubai Film Connection. The contest offers directors from as far afield as the Levant, Maghreb, the Gulf or North Africa $120,000 in prize money as well as the chance to make industry connections.

The co-production market also matches the short-listed director/producer teams with specialists in film production, distribution and funding to further their projects.

Beirut DC will take an active role in promoting the various initiatives of DIFF including the Dubai Film Connection and Dubai Film Market. They also will suggest a shortlist of participants for the Producers Coaching Program for up-and-coming filmmakers held during the upcoming fest in Dubai.

DIFF also recently inked a partnership with Jordan's Royal Film Commission to promote filmmaking links between the two orgs. The collaboration involves inviting four screenwriter graduates from the Middle East Screenwriters Lab (a collaboration between Jordan's Royal Film Commission and the Sundance Institute) to attend DIFF and network with industry professionals.

The seventh edition of DIFF unspools Dec. 12-19.
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