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Dubai Film Connection Announces Arab Projects Prizewinners of 2017 Edition

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Dubai fest’s Dubai Film Connection co-production market has announced the winners of $60,000 worth of film funding prizes, the most lucrative of which went to “The Syrians,” a creative documentary project by Tunisian multidisciplinary artist Mohamed Ismail Louti, aka Ismaël (pictured), about displaced Syrians living in Lebanon.

“The Syrians” won the DFC’s $25,000 DIFF nod and also scooped an invitation to attend the Tribeca Film Institute for curated pitching sessions during that fest as well as a nomination for the next round of Germany’s Robert Bosch Stiftung foundation’s cash prizes.

Jordanian writer and producer Bassel Ghandour’s “The Alleys,” about a hustling taxi driver who is trying to conceal a forbidden romance in a heavily populated East Amman neighborhood, and the film’s producer Rula Nasser, scored an invite to the Sorfond Pitching Forum, held during the Films from the South Festival in Oslo, on top of the Cinescape/Front Row Award worth $10,000.

Four producers of DFC projects who won complimentary accreditation to the prestigious Producers Network at Cannes are: Haider Rashid (“Europa”); Jessica Landt (“I Dreamt Of Empire”); Nayla Al Khaja (“Animal”) and Anissa Daoud (“God Bless Buddies”).

UAE-born Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala’s project “You Will Die At Twenty,” which is set in a Sudanese village where a woman gives birth to a boy who becomes saddled with a Dervish prophecy, won the ART Award; Anwar Boulifa’s “The Unwanted,” which explores the social stigma that women who fall pregnant outside of wedlock endure in Morocco, took the Hideway Entertainment Award; and Beirut-set “Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous” by Wissam Charaf and Hala Dabaji, about a love affair between an Ethiopian housemaid and a Syrian refugee who find solace in each other through their respective struggles, scooped the Centre National du Cinema nod.

Dubai fest managing director Shivani Pandya, who oversees the Dubai Film Market, said there are plenty of new sales agents attending this year. Registered companies include Rezo Films, Memento Films International, Bacfilms, Indie Sales, Curzon Artificial Eye and, for the first time, Netflix.

Dubai Film Connection Award Winners – 2017

DIFF Award – $25,000 

Winning Project: The Syrians

Director: Mohamed Ismail Laouti

Producer: Willy Rolle

ART Award – $10,000 

Winning Project: You Will Die at Twenty 

Director: Amjad Abu Alala

Producer: Hossam Elouan

Hideaway Entertainment Award – $10,000

Winning Project: The Unwanted 

Director: Anwar Boulifa

Producer: Bertrand Faivre

Cinescape/Front Row Award – $10,000 

Winning Project: The Alleys

Director: Bassel Ghandour

Producer: Rula Nasser

Centre National du Cinema (CNC) Award – Euros 5,000 ($5,850)

Winning project: Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous 

Director: Wissam Charaf

Producer: Charlotte Vincent

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