×

Abu Dhabi: Sanad Fund Opens Doors to Non-Arab Filmmakers

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival’s Sanad fund is opening up to Arab-themed projects by non-Arab directors and producers in a move that may help establish more of a bridge between film industries in the Middle East and the West, especially with Europe.

Sanad, which plays an important role in fostering filmmaking in the region, is steadily stepping up efforts to help Arab directors and producers get their pics made, even though its budget remains unvaried at $500,000 total per year. The fund awards development grants worth up to $20,000 and post-production grants up to $60,000.

“We had to ask ourselves: what defines an Arab film?,” said the fest’s director of programing, Teresa Cavina. The first step was to support works by directors of Arab descent but living abroad, who no longer have an Arab passport.  “Now we’ve taken it a step further: if there is a documentary of a film that tackles very important questions for the Arab world, we will support it even if the director has no Arab ties,” she added.

Cavina cites Danish director Janus Metz’s docu “Armadillo,” about the Danish military during the war in Afghanistan, as an example of what would qualify.

Popular on Variety

“Sanad is always a work-in-progress, because we try to be as close as possible to the needs of filmmakers,” Cavina said. “Of course, what we can give as a fund is helpful, but it does not constitute the full budget for a film; so what we need to do is to help them meet co-producers.”

To help Sanad-supported pics find more financing, they’ve expanded the co-production forum this year (pictured) and have plans to expand it further going forward into a bona fide co-production mart.

“We are not just a film fund; we adopt our projects,” said Cavina. This goes in the direction of having Sanad function as a full-service entity for filmmakers, that also encompasses mentoring and advice on matters such as what’s the best fest to launch a specific pic.

A noticeably larger Gallic group is attending the current Sanad co-production forum, comprising reps from Memento Films Intl., MPM Film, Rezo and Wild Bunch. Among others also attending are the U.K.’s Dogwoof and regulars such as Hong Kong-based Fortissimo.

More Film

  • The Batman Robert Pattinson

    'The Batman' Leaked Images and Video Reveal Batcycle, Full Batsuit

    A series of leaked images and a 12-second video taken from the set of “The Batman” reveal the first look at the Batcycle and the full Batsuit. The unauthorized images were taken during an outdoor location shoot for the film at the Glasgow Necropolis cemetery in Scotland, according to the caption accompanying the images on [...]

  • Barneys closing

    Barneys, Fabulous Department Store for Movie Stars, Dies at 97

    A few years ago, I found myself at the Barneys department store in Beverly Hills on Dec. 24, wandering around on the men’s floor. It was almost closing time, and there was something depressing about being at Barneys at dusk on the night before Christmas. The store was empty, almost ghost-like, except for another shopper, [...]

  • 'Wildland' Review: Sidse Babett Knudsen Is

    'Wildland': Film Review

    After the sudden death of her mother, an introverted teenager is taken in by an estranged female relative, who turns out to be the matriarch of a dangerous criminal family. If the essential logline of Danish director Jeanette Nordahl’s quietly tense debut “Wildland” sounds more than a little familiar, perhaps the same thought occurred to [...]

  • 30West Acquires Stake in U.K.’s Altitude

    30West to Acquire Stake in British Film Company Altitude

    30West is to acquire a significant minority stake in Altitude Media Group, the British film company led by Will Clarke and Andy Mayson. The move marks 30West’s second corporate investment after it took a stake in 2018 in U.S. film distributor Neon, whose Korean film “Parasite” won an Oscar for best picture – the first [...]

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    'Portrait of a Lady on Fire' Cinematographer, Costume Designer on the 'Painterly' 18th-Century Look

    “Painterly” might be an overused term to describe a certain aesthetic of period cinematography, informed by candlelit interiors and sweeping outdoor compositions. But it seizes the essence of French writer-director Céline Sciamma’s deeply feminist 18th-century gay romance set on the coast of Brittany, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which debuted in theaters on Valentine’s [...]

  • 'Malmkrog' Review

    'Malmkrog': Film Review

    Since Cristi Puiu’s “Malmkrog” means to drown the viewer in a dense and arcane philosophical debate about Good and Evil, the nature of Christ, Europe and the direction of History, let’s add another strand to the discussion: how is cinema put to best use? It’s an especially pertinent question since Puiu’s always stunning use of [...]

  • Onward Animated Film 2020

    'Onward': Film Review

    Later this year  — Nov. 19, 2020, to be exact — will mark the 25th anniversary of the premiere of “Toy Story,” the first feature from Pixar. In 1995, that movie launched the digital-animation revolution, a paradigm shift that Pixar, for a long time, more or less owned. Yet as the company’s innovations evolved into [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content