Dubai Film Connection search is on for outstanding Arab film projects

Tue Aug 04,2009

  • Directors of Arab nationality or origin from the Maghreb to the Gulf invited to submit works in progress or in advanced stage of development
  • Online application deadline August 15, 2009

One Man Village_posterTalented filmmakers from the global Arab community stand to gain more than US$110,000 in funding and invaluable connections to key industry influencers as the Dubai International Film Festival crosses the halfway mark for the third Dubai Film Connection, the Festival’s co-production market.

The co-production market, which opened for 2009 submissions in May, champions directors of Levant, Maghreb, Gulf or North African origin, from Mauritania to Sudan and Syria to Oman.

In two short years, the Middle East’s first fiction and documentary film development initiative to raise the visibility of Arab filmmakers and stimulate more production from the region has achieved significant success. From the 33 film projects selected in the 2007 and 2008 editions, 17 are in various stages of production and five are completed. Several have gone on to critical acclaim at the renowned Sundance, Berlin and Cannes festivals.

The Dubai Film Connection will present six awards during the sixth DIFF, to be held from December 9 – 16. These include a €6,000 prize (US$8,400) prize from ARTE France, the US$10,000 Bahrain Film Production Company DIFF Development Award, the US$25,000 Desert Door DIFF Work in Progress Award, and three US$25,000 DIFF prizes. The winners of the three DIFF awards also receive entry into the prestigious Producers Network at the Cannes Film Festival.

Amreeka_SceneDFC also matches the short-listed director/producer teams with industry professionals specialising in film production, sales, distribution and funding to further develop their projects.

DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya said the DFC delivers on the Festival’s core mandate to bridge cultures through cinema and to showcase the best of Arab cinema.

“The Dubai Film Connection provides a platform for the world’s most promising Arab talent to collaborate with international film professionals to realize their vision,” Pandya said. ““There is no doubt that DFC is a successful project market, not only because of the volume of quality applications we receive every year but primarily because of the outstanding projects that emerge from the rigorous selection process. Arab filmmaking has never been more distinguished and recognized internationally and we are happy to be an instrument in this achievement.”

In previous editions, DFC showcase projects included feature debuts and new projects from established filmmakers from the Maghreb, Levant, North Africa and the Gulf, including Abdellatif Ben Ammar, Faouzi Bensaidi, Oday Rasheed, Djamila Sahraoui, Annemarie Jacir, Cherien Dabis, Ziad Doueiri, Douad Abd El-Sayed and Simon El Habre.

‘Amreeka,’ a DFC project by Palestinian-American Cherien Dabis, made its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and earlier this year received the prestigious FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Lebanese filmmaker Simon El Habre’s directorial debut, ‘The One Man Village,’ which received a 2007 DFC grant and a DIFF Muhr Arabic jury prize, went on to win awards at documentary festivals in Canada, Monaco and Rotterdam.

Interested filmmakers with feature-length fiction or documentary projects in development or works in progress can apply for the Dubai Film Connection online until August 15, 2009 at Hard copy materials must be received at DIFF headquarters in Dubai no later than August 22, 2009.

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