DFI partners with rapper on 'Cruel Summer'
Kanye West is descending on the Croisette on Wednesday to unveil his new short, “Cruel Summer,” made in association with the Doha Film Institute.Much about the 30-minute pic is being kept under wraps, but the DFI has been on board for the past eight weeks (from script stage) as creative and cultural advisors. Emirati helmer Mohammed Saeeb Harib is cultural advisor. The project is described as a combination short film and art installation with an “immersive seven-screen experience.” The short stars West and four Arab thesps, which DFI helped to cast. “Cruel Summer” was shot on location in Doha. Story, said to be inspired by West’s G.O.O.D. music album of the same title, takes place in pre-Islamic Middle Eastern times. West and his design company, Donda, will preem the pic at the Palm Beach in Cannes, and the installation will be open to the public for two days. The DFI has been ramping up international production and financing. Last year it backed Arab epic “Black Gold” and is a partner on upcoming “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” starring Kate Hudson. At Cannes, it announced its next wave of funding grants for Gulf filmmakers. The DFI has picked 23 features, docs and shorts from the Middle East and North Africa to receive finance as part of its 2012 grants program. In a marked change from previous DFI grant handouts, accomplished helmers such as Morocco’s Hakim Belabbes and Lebanon’s Dima El Horr have received coin in addition to emerging and first-time directors. More than 40 pics from 10 countries received funding from the DFI’s last year, with a majority applying for production and post-production support.