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DOHA, Qatar — Projects from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco and Syria spanning 11 feature films, five short films, nine feature documentaries and two experimental feature films are on the list in the latest funding round from the Doha Film Institute.
The DFI, the cultural body behind the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, said the grant will dished out after selecting them from “a record high of 211 applicants” for its Fall submission round, compared to the levels seeking support in Spring 2012.
The funding will be pumped into the 27 projects across development, production and postproduction.
The DFI does not make public the financial details for the support.
The feature narrative section includes auteur driven projects such as Merzak Allouache’s Terraces and Ghassan Salhab’s The Valley, as well as projects billed as “emotional dramas” such as Pillow Secrets, an immigration project named Die Welt and the Iraqi/Kurdish feature Memory on Stone about the Kurdish genocide in Iraq.
Comedies also feature heavily in the narrative feature section with projects featuring titles including Ali, The Goat & Ibrahim, Red Valentine and Me Memories, Myself & Murdoch.
Documentary recipients will tackle high profile and important political events in the region.
Titles such as Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs, which looks at the Egyptian revolution in 1952 to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Gaddafi’s Girls, a portrait of the women force/brigade that Gaddafi used to employ as bodyguards and Democracy Year Zero about the Tunisian uprising against the authoritarian regime of Z.A. Ben Ali.
The documentary category also features films which discuss the often-difficult challenges people face in the region from financial struggles in the poorest areas in Cairo in What Comes Around, to uniting young people of different backgrounds from the Middle East’s turmoil in The First Supper.
“One of DFI’s main goals is to support and facilitate filmmakers from the MENA region in getting their films made and their stories heard,” said DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater.
“Many of these stories are reflective of the social and political changes happening in our region and show the unique power of film as a medium to express this. We’re really encouraged by the breadth and depth of submissions from this session and as we continue to fine-tune our MENA Grants process, we will ensure we can support an even more dynamic slate in the future.”
The MENA grants were established to help first and second time filmmakers gain financing and to help more established filmmakers get support for artistic works which might otherwise struggle to secure funding.
Reem Al-Wohaibi, a producer from Qatar, has also been awarded a postproduction grant for her feature documentary Somebody Clap for Me, for its original look at an old Ugandan tradition and how this has been revived via open-mic poetry events and hip-hop music.
Paul Miller, head of film financing at DFI, added: “Our 27 grantees are a blend of new and established filmmakers and they really depict the passion and determination of filmmakers in this region to tell their own authentic stories – from black comedies to political events, family dramas and changing societies. Their projects really give us a compelling taste of modern storytelling in this region.”
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