Abu Dhabi Film Festival unveils fund

Renamed fest launches $500,000 Sanad support fund

The newly renamed Abu Dhabi Film Festival has unveiled a $500,000 fund designed to provide assistance to Arab filmmakers.

The fund, called Sanad, which translates as support in Arabic, will help productions from the Arab region through grants totaling $500,000 each year.

The festival, formally known as the Middle East International Film Festival, changed its name to strengthen the connection between the festival and its home.

"Sanad is a concrete way in which the festival can support the region's filmmakers in developing their own voices and taking their place in the international film community," said festival executive director Peter Scarlet. "There's an amazing amount of untapped and unrecognized creative potential in the Arab world and these grants are an important building block in the creation of a vibrant and viable cinema here, especially since they come with the kind of international opportunities and support we can offer."

Sanad will provide grants in two categories -- development and postproduction -- for feature-length narratives and documentaries by filmmakers from the Arab world. Development grants will be up to $20,000. Grants for postproduction will be up to $60,000. The selection committee will be made up of members of the festival's programming and management teams along with film industry professionals.

The committee will seek out projects from new and established filmmakers with the aim of encouraging artistic innovation. As the first fund to be launched by a film festival with the specific aim of supporting filmmakers from across the Arab world, Sanad also aims to build stronger networks within the region's film industry.

Applications for the fund are now open until July 15, 2010.
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