The Dubai Film Festival’s recently re-instated Dubai Film Connection has announced twelve Arab film projects that have made the cut to tap into the funding and networking opportunities provided by what is the only bona-fide co-production platform in the Middle East.
Half the selected Arab directors are women, which speaks volumes about the outstanding female empowerment of filmmakers in the region. Many of the directors with projects on display are well-known on the international festival circuit.
These include pluriprized Palestinian auteur Annemarie Jacir (“When I Saw You,” “Salt of This Sea”) who will be talking up her next feature, the Nazareth-set dark comedy “Wajib”; Morocco’s barrier-breaking Narjiss Nejjar (“Cry No More”) who will present three-part romancer “A Step Behind the Sun”; British-based Iraqi filmmaker Koutaiba Al-Janabi, whose drama “Daoud” is set during the Iran/Iraq war; and Egypt’s Hala Lotfy, whose Cairo-set debut “Coming Forth By Day” made a splash in 2012, and now has sophomore drama “The Bridge” in the works.
The DFC provides a platform for emerging Middle Eastern filmmakers to tap into more than $80,000 in cash and plenty of networking opportunities provided by the Dubai Film Market.
The awards from supporting institutions include the $10,000 Cinescape/Front Row nod; the $10,000 Empire nod; the 15,000 Fortress Film Clinic nod; the $10,000 Sanad Film Fund Abu Dhabi nod; the $10,000 ART nod, and a $25,000 nod from the Dubai fest.
In addition to the cash prizes, the DFC will also be selecting five of its participating Arab producers for complimentary accreditation to the Producers Network at Cannes.
Here is the complete list of projects vying to secure support at this year’s Dubai Film Connection:
· A Step Behind the Sun – Narjiss Nejjar, Morocco
· Amal – Mohamed Siam, Egypt
· Daoud’s Winter – Koutaiba Al-Janabi, Iraq
· Ibrahim – Lina Alabed, Jordan
· My Favourite Fabric – Gayaneh Jiji, Syria
· Papion on Top of the Water Tank – Yahya Alabdallah, Jordan
· Pagan Magic – Fyzal Boulifa, Morocco
· The Bridge – Hala Lotfy, Egypt
· The Inheritor – Halim Sabbagh, Lebanon
· The Maiden’s Pond – Bassem Breish, Lebanon
· Wajib – Annemarie Jacir, Palestine
· Weight Throwers – Hind Bensari, Morocco
The 12th edition of the Dubai Film Festival will run December 9-16