Palestine-UK production Zindeeq wins

Sat Dec 05,2009

The US$25,000 Desert Door DIFF Work in Progress Award to encourage Arab filmmaking, this year, goes to a Palestine-UK co-production Zindeeq, directed by Michel Khleifi.

A partnership between the Dubai International Film Festival and Desert Door Productions, the DIFF Work in Progress Award is part of Dubai Film Connection, the festival’s co-production platorm established  to raise the visibility of Arab filmmakers and stimulate the growth of film production originating from the Arab world.

DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said the Desert Door DIFF Work in Progress Award serves as a catalyst for Arab filmmakers to complete their dream projects. “One of DIFF’s goals is to promote Arab film talent, and set the platform for creating a robust film industry. In the past few years, several Arab productions have cut strong inroads in global cinema, setting the stage for promoting fresh talent. DIFF is privileged to have played a key role in promoting this dynamic.”

Zindeeq, produced by Omar Al Qattan, beat off stiff competition from 17 participating films, in the Desert Door Works in Progress award category many of which involved innovative cross-cultural collaborations.

The Egyptian entry, Full House, produced and co-directed by Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui; and Nomad’s House, directed by Iman Kamel and produced by Talal Al Muhanna, scooped the runners-up spots, and will be present at the Dubai Film Connection co-production platform in December

Desert Door Productions (DDP) is an independent film production company based in Dubai, UAE. DDP invests in quality, socially relevant film, television and commercial projects throughout the Middle East, US and Europe.

DDP focuses on bringing international productions to the region and the production of first film projects with cross-over appeal, in a bid to develop and nurture the visionary yet largely untapped, film making talent of the Middle East.  With a highly experienced, international staff DDP provides the best in regional talent combined with American film production expertise.

The Dubai Film Connection co-production platform offers directors of Arab League origin funds and invaluable industry connections for projects in development as well as works in progress.

The awards for projects in development include three DIFF prizes of $25,000 for projects in advanced stages of development; the ARTE Prize of €6,000 presented by ARTE France and the Bahrain Film Production Company DIFF Development Award of $10,000.

The projects short-listed for the Dubai Film Connection in-development category are: The Confession (directed by Eliane Raheb, from Lebanon); Dance of Outlaws (Mohamed El Aboudi, Finland-Morocco); Free Men (Ismael Ferroukhi, France-Morocco); Machos (Rami Kodeih, Lebanon); The Making Of (Mahdi Fleifel, UK-Palestine); Off Frame (Mohanad Yaqubi, Palestine); A Plane for my Soul (Maythem Ridha, UK-Iraq); Playground’s Stories (Brahim Fritah, France-Morocco); Smile, you’re in Jeddah (Ahd Kamel, KSA-Egypt); The Son of the Sea (Najat Jellab, Morocco-France-Canada);  Tislit (Hicham Falah, Morocco-France); UpSide Down (Ahmad Ghossein, Lebanon) and Yasmeen (Amin Matalqa, Jordan).

An international jury will select the winners for the in-development category prizes during the Dubai Film Connection and present the awards on December 14.

Now in its sixth year, DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and will be held from December 9 to 16. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). For more information on the festival, please visit

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