The Venice Film Festival has unveiled this year’s lineup for its annual Final Cut workshop, picking six in-progress projects from Africa and the Arab world, which are looking for post-production support and partnership opportunities.
Drama features picked for the 2020 Final Cut in Venice selection include Harvest from Lebanese filmmaker Ely Dagher and two Algerian productions: Anis Djaad’s Hadjer —The Olive Grove and Soula from director Salah Issaad. Three documentaries — Leila Chaibi’s Tunisian-set Guardian of the Worlds; Our Choices from Syrian-born filmmaker Salah Al Ashkar, which follows events in Aleppo from the first anti-Assad demonstrations in 2011 up to the evacuation of the city in 2016; and The Blue Inmates, Zeina Daccache’s examination of Lebanon’s criminalization of the mentally ill, also made this year’s Final Cut.
From September 7-9, the directors and producers of the six projects will pitch their films to producers, buyers, distributors, post-production companies and film festival programmers. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the entire program will be held online through the platform Festival Scope Pro.
Final Cut Venice will also hand out several awards with cash bursaries or financial support earmarked for post-production expenses.
Now in its 8th year, Final Cut Venice has an impressive record of backing projects that go on to success in the international festival circuit. Recent Final Cut alumni include Alain Gomis’ Felicite, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival; John Trengove’s The Wound, which premiered at Sundance and won the best first feature honor at the London Film Festival; and Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s documentary Mother I Am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You, which premiered in Berlin last year.
While this year’s Final Cut program will be online, Venice is going ahead with its regular physical program and will unspool this year’s competition line up from Sept. 2-12.