Doha Film Institute Sends 15 Titles to Dubai International Film Festival

National Geographic/Courtesy Everett Collection
Cherien Dabis

Titles with backing from the Qatari cultural organization traveling across the border to the United Arab Emirates' festival event includes Cherien Dabis' "May in the Summer," a U.S., Qatar and Jordan production that will compete in the Muhr Arab Feature sidebar.

LONDON – A spread of 15 films including features, documentaries and shorts supported by the Doha Film Institute, the Qatari cultural institution, will unspool at the Dubai International Film Festival in the United Arab Emirates city.

Featuring films from auteurs to debutants, the selection also represents the vast geography of the Middle East and North Africa region and is a nod to Doha's desire to promote and push work from the region across the Middle East.

Several of the films supported by the Doha Film Institute are competing in Dubai's Muhr Arab competition section.

The feature narratives and documentary films at DIFF, supported by the Doha Film Institute’s grants program, include Champ of the Camp, an UAE, Lebanon & Qatar co-production, the first feature-length documentary filmed in the UAE’s worker accommodation quarters.

Directed by Mahmoud Kaabour, it follows a Bollywood singing and trivia competition that takes place each summer in Dubai and screens in Dubai’s Arabian Nights section.

The five films in the Muhr Arab Feature program include a duo of co-financed projects, Ladder to Damascus and May in the Summer.

Cherien Dabis' May in the Summer, a U.S., Qatar and Jordan production, tells the story of May Brennan, a U.S.-based, successful, published author who is set to marry her loving fiance. But the cracks in her seemingly perfect life begin to show when she returns to her hometown Amman for the wedding.

Directed by Mohamed Malas, Ladder to Damascus is a Syria, Lebanon and Qatar production and details the story of Ghalia, who is possessed by the spirit of a girl. She travels to Damascus, where she meets an aspiring filmmaker; love blossoms between the two, until the tumultuous events in the country affect them.

Doha Film Institute CEO Abdulaziz Al Khater said: "It is wonderful to see that films backed by the Doha Film Institute -- several of them international and regional collaborations -- are increasingly gaining recognition at major film festivals. The strong lineup of films highlights the tremendous filmmaking talents in the Arab world, and reinforces our belief that with the right support, their stories can reach global audiences."

Dubai International Film Festival 2013 runs Dec. 6-14.