The Dubai Film Connection has been one of the most productive industry initiatives at DIFF since it was launched in 2007, aiming to help up to 15 Arab films find coin.
The Connection runs Dec. 12-17 as part of a the Dubai Film Market.
Arab filmmakers are also awarded prize money for production, with three awards worth $25,000 each for projects in development from DIFF; a single €6,000 award from Arte for a filmmaker with an original writing style; a new Film Clinic award worth $10,000 for a first feature; and a new Screen Institute documentary award worth $15,000 for a work-in-progress. There will also be a single $25,000 Desert Door work-in-progress award for a film that’s finished shooting and needs assistance to complete.
Projects looking good for funding include Egyptian director Ibrahim El-Batout’s latest, “Ali the Goat and Ibrahim,” after his last film, “Hawi,” took home the best Arab film award at the Doha Tribeca Film Fest; and Lebanese director Philippe Aractingi’s new work “The Eagle and the Butterfly.” Also in the running are two docs from Lebanon and Egypt: “Confession and Struggle,” by Eliane Raheb, and “In Search of Oil and Sand,” by Philippe Dib.
Not only do filmmakers have access to the DFC, there’s also the Enjaaz initiative, which supports post with grants, and the Filmart marketplace.
For DIFF managing director Shivani Pandya, the DFC is very much what the festival’s spirit is all about: “The funding we provide makes a critical difference to filmmakers’ ability to deliver quality films in pre- and post-production, Enjaaz as well as the Dubai Film Connection, so we can cover the entire life cycle of a film from script to screen.”
Indeed, this year three beneficiaries of DFC coin are screening at the festival: “Nomad’s Home” by Iman Kamel, Mahmoud Al Massad’s “This Is My Picture When I Was Dead” and “Zelal” by Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui. Since 2007, the DFC has showcased a total of 46 films in development (fiction and documentary) and six works-in-progress.
“The fact that 15 of our DFC films have been completed and nine more are in production is a testament to the interest the international film industry is taking in films from the region,” Pandya says.
More from Fest Traveler: Dubai International Film Festival:
• Local heroes
• Dubai Film Connection finds funds
International Star of the Year – Colin Firth:
• Firth grows beyond his rom-com reputation
• Firth talks up fair trade for Oxfam