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Doha Film Institute Extends Funding to TV Series, Announces New Grants

The Doha Film Institute, a key source of funding and an incubator for Middle East filmmakers, is opening its grants program to TV and web series in an effort to foster more serialized Arabic content from the Middle East.

CEO Fatma Al Remaihi said the institute would be offering development funding for TV series and production funding for web series starting with the next round of grants. Submissions can be made from July. The institute will be the first entity in the region to provide seed money for Arab series.

“We want to follow talents on their journey of creative possibilities and offer them these [serialized content] options as well,” said Hanaa Issa, the DFI’s director of film funding. The idea is to give producer-director teams the possibility to develop a project they can bring to a broadcaster.

The DFI, which is a backer of six films at Cannes this year, including Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” and Bi Gan’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (pictured), also announced the 34 feature film projects selected for its 2018 Spring Grants cycle, 14 of which are helmed by women directors.

The new DFI-backed projects include Syria civil war-set documentary “The Cave,” chronicling a subterranean hospital for chemical weapons victims, directed by Oscar-nominated documentary director Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”); “Girl Made of Dust,” about a Lebanese girl who retreats into her imagination to escape the ravages of war, by Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbas ; and “Tlamess,” in which a young Tunisian soldier who deserts the army meets a pregnant young woman, directed by Ala Eddine Slim, whose first feature “The Last of Us,” was a 2016 Venice Film Festival standout.

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