DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Projects exploring issues of identity and exile were the standouts at the Dubai fest’s Dubai Film Connection co-production market where Lebanese director Eliane Raheb’s “The Great Family,” about a Palestinian woman brought up in France by adoptive parents, and France-based Algerian director Omar Haffaf’s “Algeria is Still Far Away,” about Chinese workers in a remote area of Algeria, were the works in development that took the top prizes.


In total the DFC, which has become the only bona-fide co-production platform in the Middle East, dished out $50,000 to six Arab filmmakers, plus opportunities to connect with international and local industry experts to help bring their projects to the screen.

Five of the producers of the films who won cash also got complimentary accreditation to the prestigious Producers Network at Cannes.

The DFC winners were selected based on a range of criteria including quality of ideas, ability to reflect the diversity of filmmaking voices across the Arab world, project feasibility, ability of the production team to deliver the proposed project and the project’s potential for both international and Arab production partners.

Dubai Film Connection Award Winners – 2016

DIFF Award – USD 12,500

Winning Project:  THE GREAT FAMILY

Director: Eliane Raheb

Producer: Lara Abou Saifan

DIFF Award – USD 12,500


Director: Omar Haffaf

Producer: Marie Balducchi

ART Award – USD 10,000

Winning Project: FARHA

Director: Darin J. Sallam

Producer: Deema Azar

Cinescape/Front Row Award – USD 10,000

Winning Project: HAIFA STREET

Director: Mohanad Al Hayal

Producer: Hala Alsalman

 International Organisation of La Francophonie – Euros 5,000

Winning Project: TOUDA

Director: Daoud Aoulad Syad

Producer: Lamia Chraibi

The Tribeca Partnership

Winning Project: HAIFA STREET

Director: Mohanad Al Hayal

Producer: Hala Alsalman

Sorfond Partnership

Winning Project: GIRL MADE OF DUST

Director: Hiam Abbass

Producer: Sabine Sidawi