Arab filmmakers receive coin for development, prod'n, post

LONDON — The Doha Film Institute is awarding grants to 25 projects at various stages of production as part of its aim to support Arab filmmakers.

For the first of two grant submission cycles, DFI has awarded five post-production, 12 production and eight development grants for filmmakers from the MENA region, with recipients hailing from Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco.

Amanda Palmer, DFI exec director, noted that the political instability and rising production costs in the Arab world were even more reason for local filmmakers to be supported.

“It’s more important than ever that organizations like DFI not only support these filmmakers, but encourage others in the Arab world to support them in this time of industry uncertainty and change,” she said. “DFI’s grants not only support established filmmakers, but in many cases we are providing young emerging talents, who struggle to be heard, the financial backing to enable them to transform their scripts to film.”

In 2010, the institute supported six Middle Eastern pics including Nadine Labaki’s “Where Do We Go Now?”

It also embarked on its first international co-production, “Black Gold,” with Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications. The $55 million pic toplines Antonio Banderas and Frieda Pinto and will world preem at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in October.

The full list of grant recipients is:

Post production:

“El Shooq,” Khaled El-Hagar (Egypt)

“Normal,” Merzak Allouache (Algeria)

“Sudan. Land. Music,” Mahmoud Omar (Egypt)

“February 19,” Tamara Stepanyan (Lebanon)

“Yearning,” Lina Alabed (Palestine/Egypt)

Production:

“Beirut Hold’em,” Michel Kammoun (Lebanon)

“Challat of Tunis,” Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia)

“Confession and Struggle,” Eliane Raheb (Lebanon)

“Haneen,” Ossama Bawardi (Palestine)

“Ibn Battuta,” Tariq Teguia (Algeria)

“Mohamed Saved from the Waters,” Safaa Fathy (Egypt)

“Mosqui Cinema,” Mohamad Malas (Syria)

“Notes on a Tunisian Odyssey,” Kays Mejri and Matt Petterson (Tunisia/US)

“Rumors,” Azza El Hassan (Palestine/Jordan)

“Teta,” Merva Faddoul (Lebanon)

“Until Morning,” Hisham Bizri (Lebanon)

“When We’re Born,” Tamer Ezzat (Egypt)

Development:

“Asphalt, Ali,” Hammoud (Lebanon)

“Dona Cesaria,” Dima Al-Joundi (Lebanon)

“Fevers,” Hicham Ayouch (Morocco/France)

“A Gaza Weekend,” Basil Khalil (Palestine)

“Housekeeping,” Mazen Khaled (Lebanon)

“Nostalgia,” Zaid Abu Hamdan (Jordan)

“Shadow of a Man,” Niam Itany (Lebanon)

“Upside Down,” Ahmad Ghossein (Lebanon)

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