The Doha Film Institute has announced its latest round of grantees comprising 26 projects in various stages from 14 countries. Two of these, plus four recipients of DFI funding from previous sessions, will have their world premieres at Cannes this year.
The six DFI-backed pics unspooling across all sections at the fest are: Romanian director Bogdan Mirica’s “Dogs” and Singaporean helmer Boo Junfeng’s “Apprentice,” both in Un Certain Regard; “Divines” by French director Houda Benyamina, in Directors’ Fortnight; Spanish director Oliver Laxe’s “Mimosas” (pictured) and “Tramontane” by Lebanon’s Vatche Boulghourjian, in Critics’ Week.
The DFI also put some coin into Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Palme d’Or contender “The Salesman,” but not as part of grants program.
DFI Grants Program funding feature film recipients for Spring 2016 are:
Amerli – Yahya Al Allaq (Iraq/Qatar)
Logline: After the destruction of their hometown in northern Iraq, and the murder of their parents, Zainab and her brother Yousef are on the run, intent on reaching the town of Amerli.
Bull Shark – Mohammed Al Ibrahim (Qatar)
Logline: An up-and-coming investment banker makes his mark in the Arab region’s most prominent Islamic investment bank, only to find out that he has been caught in the middle of the costliest embezzlement scheme in Arab history.
Coming of Age – Sara Al-Obaidly (Qatar/United Kingdom/Italy/Turkey/Nepal)
Logline: Two mod girls from South East London embark on a dream holiday but end up on the journey of a lifetime, crossing continents and cultures, and growing up over three wild years on the road.
A House in Jerusalem – Muayad Alayan (Palestine/Qatar)
Logline: A Jewish American family finds it hard to adapt to their new home in Jerusalem after they discover the grave of a young Palestinian girl.
I Dreamt of Empire – Kasem Kharsa (Egypt/Germany/France/Qatar)
Logline: An Egyptian professor travels back and forth through time in an attempt to save his only son and reclaim the past
Screwdriver – Bassam Jarbawi (Palestine/Qatar)
Logline: Driven to psychosis by the torture he underwent in an Israeli prison, an ex-basketball champ struggles to reassimilate into society. As reality blurs with his hallucinations, he cannot help but drive himself back into incarceration
You Will Die at Twenty – Amjad Abu Alala (Sudan/Qatar)
Logline: When Mozamel is born in a Sudanese village where the ideas of Sufism hold sway, a prophecy says he will die in his twenties. He lives in fear until Sulaiman, an elderly cinematographer, appears in his life
The Forgotten – Ghada Terawi (Palestine/Qatar)
Logline: A look at the life of Kozo Okamoto, a Japanese freedom fighter who gave up his life in Japan after joining the movement to liberate Palestine
Feature Experimental or Essay/Production
On Trials – Jasmina Metwaly, Philip Rizk (Egypt/Qatar)
Logline: In an attempt to question the legal realm, ‘On Trials’ explores the performative aspect of the law in Egypt through performances by judges, lawyers, defendants, journalists and law students
Born in the Maelstrom – Meryam Joobeur (Tunisia/Canada/Qatar)
Logline: Rebecca, an 18-year-old biracial girl, is bound in an imaginary world shaped by her black mother’s painful past. She searches for liberation from this place where she does not belong
Green Eyes – Abdulla Al-Mulla (Qatar)
Logline: The tireless struggle of a coma patient in the oceanic depths of his own reality, as he faces off against his own ego and the mysterious monster that lives within
The President’s Visit – Cyril Aris (Lebanon/Qatar)
Logline: When the men in a fishing village learn of the secret upcoming visit of their country’s president, they embark on a never-ending struggle to maintain the perfect image of their town
To the One Who Didn’t Give Me Life – Wassim Geagea (Lebanon/Qatar)
Logline: When his mother unexpectedly dies, a nine-year-old boy kidnaps a statue of the Virgin Mary in order to blackmail Jesus into returning her
Feature Narrative/Post Production
Headbang Lullaby – Hicham Lasri (Morocco/France/Qatar)
Logline: A policeman is sent by his dissatisfied superiors to spend a day on a bridge between two warring neighborhoods, where he is charged with ensuring the security of a hypothetical royal procession
The Journey – Mohamed Al Daradji (Iraq/Qatar)
Logline: Sara is on the cusp of committing an unthinkable act, but time stands still and she is given the opportunity to witness the consequences of her destructive action
Whispering Sands – Nacer Khemir (Tunisia/France/Qatar)
Logline: An encounter in the desert between a woman haunted by her family’s tragic past, and her guide, who discovers his own family’s dark future
Dark Skull – Kiro Russo (Bolivia/Qatar)
Logline: “A conflictive young man lived rejecting his father, after he passed away the young man must return to his village to replace him in the tin mines. Who was his father?”
Diamond Island – Davy Chou (Cambodia/France/Germany/Qatar)
Logline: Bora leaves his home village for the worksites of Diamond Island, a contemporary playground for the rich outside Phnom Penh. There, he finds his mysterious older brother Solei, whom he has not seen in years
Dogs – Bogdan Mirica (Romania/France/Bulgaria/Qatar)
Logline: Roman seeks to sell the land near the Romanian border with Ukraine that he has just inherited from his grandfather, but the local men will not let go of it without a fight.
Feature Documentary/Post Production
A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy – Rami Farah (Syria/Denmark/Qatar)
Logline: An intimate portrait of Syrian actor Fares Helou, who calls for freedom of speech, is forced to flee his home country, and experiences the absurdities of existence in exile
Summer of 2015 – Angie Obeid (Lebanon/Qatar)
Logline: Twenty-seven-year-old Angie, a Lebanese filmmaker, hosts a 53-year-old Syrian woman in her small apartment in Beirut. There, they wait endlessly for an opportunity to reach a better place.
City of the Sun – Rati Oneli (Georgia/Qatar)
Logline: A surreal vision of the lives of the few inhabitants of Chiatura, Georgia – a post-Soviet ghost town
Listen to the Silence – Mariam Chachia (Georgia/Qatar)
Logline: Nine years old and completely deaf, Luka dreams of dancing on stage. He follows his dream and learns Georgian folk-dancing, after which his life changes completely
Untitled Congo Project – Daniel McCabe (USA/Congo/Qatar)
Logline: An unfiltered look into the lives of three people who are surviving amid the most recent cycle of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo – the M23 rebellion
Feature Experimental or Essay/Post Production
Experimental Summer – Mahmoud Lotfy (Egypt/Qatar)
Logline: Mahmoud and Zainab are making a documentary about ‘Experimental Summer’, an independent Egyptian film produced in the mid-1980s whose makers are unknown
The Insomnia of a Serial Dreamer – Mohamad Soueid (Lebanon/Qatar)
Logline: A personal essay of dreams, images and clouds, built from visual materials filmed over the last 15 years in different formats and locations