Doha Film Institute Calls for Financial Support from the Arab World (Cannes)

DFI encourages support for filmmakers in the Arab world in this time of industry uncertainty and change.


CANNES -- The political and societal turmoil being witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa is a challenging backdrop for wannabe Arab filmmakers already facing sweeping industry change and rising movie production costs.

The Doha Film Institute is aiming to push its influence out to North African filmmakers, calling for more collaborative financial support from the Arab world to support storytellers from the region.

The DFI has dished out a slew of cash sums to a range of projects in various stages of development, production and post-production from the region in the first of two grant submission cycles, one year on from the launch during Cannes last year.

"We don't talk about money or the cost of the grants," DFI executive director Amanda Palmer said. "We want it to be about the filmmakers getting support not a headline figure of how money it costs. It’s more important than ever that organizations like DFI not only support these filmmakers, but encourage others in the Arab world to support in this time of industry uncertainty and change."

DFI has awarded five post-production, 12 production and eight development grants for filmmakers from the MENA region. Importantly, grants have been distributed to reflect the diversity of voices within the region - with recipients hailing from Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco.

The selected projects range from sports and family themed-films centred on self-realisation and survival, movies about freedom of expression in the Middle East and political dramas about the effects of civil war.

In 2010, the DFI supported six Middle Eastern films including Hawi (Ibrahim El-Batout), A Man of Honour (Jean Claude Codsi) and Man Without a Cellphone (Sameh Zoabi) and also did its first international co-production Black Gold with Quinta Communications - a $55 million Arabian family epic directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Tahar Rahim and Mark Strong.