Dubai International Film Festival extends access to its 2011 co-production market with new deadline

Wed Aug 10,2011

Dubai, UAE; August 10, 2011: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has extended its submission deadline for the fifth cycle of Dubai Film Connection, DIFF’s co-production market, until August 22, 2011.

For the first time, Dubai Film Connection will also accept scripts in Arabic and French in addition to English – opening its doors to a wider pool of filmmakers from the Middle East region and around the world.

The twin changes are the Festival’s response to growing feedback and requests from Arab and Arab-origin filmmakers keen to participate in the Middle East’s most successful co-production market. The Dubai Film Connection has already received more than 100 entries prior to its original August 1 deadline.

Launched in 2007, the Dubai Film Connection selects 15 regional documentary and feature film projects in development annually, offering more than US$100,000 in funding. In addition, the co-production market also provides emerging filmmakers with invaluable industry connections, including matchmaking with specialists in sales, distribution, and funding. Since its inception, it has showcased 64 projects from the Middle East, of which 18 films have been completed and debuted to international acclaim and an additional 10 are in production.

Shivani Pandya, Managing Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “In just five years, the Dubai Film Connection has built a strong portfolio of Middle Eastern cinema that has gone on to significant regional and international success. We consider the growing filmmaker interest in our co-production market to be very positive, and have done as much as we can to accommodate their requests.”
The Dubai Film Connection awards include a €6,000 prize from ARTE France; US$10,000 Film Clinic award for a debut feature film; three DIFF awards of US$25,000; US$15,000 Screen Institute Beirut DIFF Documentary Award; and five registrations for producers from the Arab world to the prestigious Producers Network at Cannes 2012.

The Dubai Film Connection’s completed films include: Amreeka (Cherien Dabis, USA/Kuwait); The Avenue of the Wounded Palm Trees (Abdellatif Ben Ammar, Tunisia/Algeria); Beit Sha’ar/Nomad’s Home (Iman Kamel, Egypt/Germany/Kuwait/UAE); City of Life (Ali Mostafa, UAE); Death for Sale (Faouzi Bensaidi, Morocco, France, Belgium); Everyday is a Holiday (Dima El Horr, Lebanon/France); The Fifth String (Selma Bargach, Morocco); Fix Me (Raed Andoni, Palestine/Switzerland); Man Without a Cell Phone (Sameh Zoabi, Palestine/Germany); Messages From the Sea (Saoud Abdel Sayed, Morocco); The One Man Village (Simon El Habre, Lebanon/Germany); Port of Memory (Kamal Aljafari, Palestine/Germany); Son of Babylon (Mohamed Al Daradji, Iraq, UK); Tangled up in Blue (Haider Rashid, Iraq/UK/Saudi Arabia/Italy); This is my Picture When I Was Dead (Mahmoud Al Massad, Jordan/Netherlands); We Were Communists (Maher Abi Samra, Lebanon/ UAE/France); Zelal (Marianne Khoury, Mustapha Hasnaoui, Egypt/France/Morocco/UAE); Zindeeq (Michel Khleifi, Palestine).

DIFF is currently also receiving entries for its Muhr Awards for Emirati, Arab, and AsiaAfrica films, as well as for the official out-of-competition segment at its eighth edition to be held from Dec. 7 to 14, 2011. The deadline for submissions is August 31, 2011.

DIFF is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

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