Dubai Film Fest Selects 16 Projects for Co-Production Market


The projects will be in the running to tap a funding pool of more than $50,000 to bolster development and production budgets.

LONDON – Sixteen projects from various territories in the Middle East and North Africa, including Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Palestine, have been picked to take part in the co-production market for regional filmmakers during the upcoming Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

The Dubai Film Connection (DFC), now in its seventh year, aims to introduce Arab filmmakers to international film backers and organizations and offers over $100,000 in project seed funding.

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Since its inception, the DFC, whose mandate is to raise the visibility of Arab filmmakers and stimulate the growth of film production originating from the Arab world, has resulted in 35 films being completed -- with an additional five in various stages of production.

Many notable past participants are returning to DIFF to screen films that originated from the program, such as Haifaa al-Mansour with Wadjda, Annemarie Jacir with When I Saw You and Merzal Allouache with The Repentant.

Batata by Noura Kevorkian and A Full Moon Night by Fares Naanaa were the 2012 standout winners. 

DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya said: "This year, we have selected the most ambitious project slate to date. Our lineup includes 11 narrative features as well as five documentaries."

"The total number and the overall caliber of entries far exceeded our expectations to the extent that we had to extend the parameters of the award to accommodate an extra selection -- bringing the total number of projects to 16."

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The Dubai Film Connection awards include a new $13,400 (€10,000) award from France's Centre National du Cinema et de l'Image Animee (CNC), a $10,000 prize from Front Row Filmed Entertainment and the Kuwait National Cinema Company, an $8,000 (€6,000) prize from ARTE France, three DIFF awards of $25,000, a $6,700 (€5,000) award to a project that is from a member country of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, and five accreditations for producers from the Arab world to the prestigious Producers Network at Cannes 2014.

Since 2007, the DFC has been running alongside the Dubai Film Market, DIFF’s platform for industry programming, which includes seminars, networking events and pitching sessions.

DIFF’s tenth edition runs Dec. 6-14, 2013.

Participating projects in the 2013 Dubai Film Connection are below:

Fiction Films

A Reverence for Spiders by Faiza Ambah / Saudi Arabia

Bastard by Uda Benyamina / Morocco

Chedda by Damien Ounouri / Algeria

Gaza, DC by Rashid Masharawi / Palestine

God Protect My Daughter by Leyla Bouzid / Tunisia

Heatwave by Joyce A. Nashawati / Lebanon

Kharouf by Ahmed Ibrahim / Egypt

Trees Also Die by Rabih El-Amine / Lebanon

Until the End of Time by Yasmine Chouikh / Algeria

Men in the Sun by Mahdi Fleifel / Palestine

The Flag by Firas Khoury / Palestine

Documentary Films

Dangerous Profiles by Mark Lotfy / Egypt

Even to China by Yanis Koussim, Mohamed Hireche / Algeria

Illusion by Bavi Yassin / Iraq

The Forgotten by Ghada Terawi / Palestine

The True Story Behind Me by Maryam S. Jum’a / Jordan

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