'Kidnap,' 'Shelter' share development coin

ABU DHABI — Abu Dhabi’s fourth installment of the Circle film financing confab, initiated by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, wrapped with a bang by awarding two filmmakers a share in the $100,000 Shasha Grant.

Dima Hamdan and Kasem Kharsa were the two winners of the development grant, which they will split, for their respective films “The Kidnap” and “Shelter,” which they pitched to a jury of industry leaders on Friday.

Hamdan’s pic, “The Kidnap,” is the story of a Jordanian police chief whose life is thrown apart when his pregnant wife is kidnapped, and he then embarks on a secret mission to find her. Kharsa’s pic “Shelter” tells the story of an amnesiac Iraqi refugee struggling to survive in Beirut, who is falsely accused of war crimes.

The Abu Dhabi Film Commission will work closely with both filmmakers through development and production on their projects.

A special prize was also presented to finalists Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf for their project “Damascenes.” Prize was a trip to the 37 º South Market at the Melbourne Intl. Film Festival as part of a partnership between Abu Dhabi Film Commission and the MIFF 37º South Market.

Circle confab this year brought more than 50 industry leaders to Abu Dhabi from Oct. 13-15, with more than 600 delegates registered. “Wall Street” producer Ed Pressman and Quinta Communications Tarak Ben Ammar both offered keynote presentations at the event.

ADFC director David Shepheard said the attendees “played a big role in helping us to stimulate a new level of entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi and across the Middle East.”

The Circle Conference overlapped the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which unspooled Oct. 14 and wraps Oct. 23.

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