The Doha Film Institute has announced the recipients of its grants program dedicated to first and second time directors largely from the Middle East, which includes groundbreaking Qatari webseries “Dr. Hamood Show” (pictured).
Other standout projects include “Speed Sisters,” a docu about the first female race-car driving team in the Middle East, and “Frenzy,” a Turkish drama set in a fictitious contempo Istanbul in the throes of political violence.
Along with Abu Dhabi’s Sanad fund and Dubai’s Enjaz, the DFI grants are crucial to fostering fresh Arabic filmmaking, though they also support some works from outside the region.
This time around, Qatar accounts for four out of 22 projects that won DFI grants. Nearly half of all selected projects are either directed or co-directed by women.
Produced by Qatar’s Innovation Films, The “Dr Hamood Show” web series, which is now in post, features thesp Mohammaed Al Dosari and Qatari wrestler Ali Al Naimi in satirical 15-minute episodes that shed some light on social issues common to Qatari youth and the Arab world.
“Speed Sisters,” which is supported by the Sundance Institute and BritDoc Foundation, is about the motor racing scene that has emerged despite tight restrictions on movement in the West Bank, where women have joined the ranks alongside many male drivers. It is directed by Palestine-based Lebanese/Canadian helmer Amber Fares, at her feature debut.
Political paranoia pic “Frenzy” is a second work by Turkey’s Emin Alper, whose “Beyond the Hill” in 2012 screened in Berlin and Tribeca. “Frenzy” is being produced by Gaul’s Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin via his Paprika shingle with other partners.
“Frenzy” and another Turkish pic, Kaan Mujdeci’s “Sivas,” which recently won the Special Jury Prize in Venice, mark the first time Turkish pics tap into DFI coin.
Another DFI recipient, “Theeb,” a Bedouin Western by Jordanian helmer Naji Abu Nowar, scored the Horizons best director award in Venice.
For a complete list of the winning DFI grant projects go to: http://www.dohafilminstitute.com