Mon Dec 08,2008

Works in Progress and Development Awards Crucial to Getting Regional Work Seen

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced two new awards for its Dubai Film Connection co-production market, designed to provide a platform for collaboration between Arab and international film industry professionals.

The USD 10, 000 Bahrain Film Production Company DIFF Development Award will assist filmmakers in developing their projects. The Bahrain Film Production company was set up in 2006 to generate support and infrastructure for regional filmmakers, and the award will allow writers and filmmakers in the preparatory stages of their projects to create a strong foundation for a successful production.

The USD 25, 000 Desert Door DIFF Works in Progress Award has been committed for the next five years by Desert Door productions, an independent film production company based in Dubai that develops, produces and invests in socially relevant television, film and commercial projects throughout the Middle East, United States and Europe. The award will assist films already in production to reach completion.

Shivani Pandya, DIFF’s Managing Director, said: “Our success rate from the first year of the Dubai Film Connection—half of our projects are in various stages of production, and one is competing in the Muhr Awards this year—is phenomenal, and a sign that the programme is filling an important niche in this region.

The new awards will take our activities even further, and are an indication that regional film bodies take filmmakers from the Arab world seriously. We thank them for their support, and we are looking forward to another year of projects.”

Two out of the three projects that participated in Dubai Film Connection 2007 have already been shortlisted for the first annual Desert Door DIFF Work in Progress Award: Amreeka, directed by Cherien Dabis; Everyday is a Holiday, by Dima el Horr; and the third new project is Tangled Up in Blue, a debut feature from Iraqi filmmaker Haider Rashid.

Other organizations supporting the Dubai Film Connection are Arte and The Producer’s Network. DIFF itself contributes three grants yearly of USD 25 000.

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