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Venice’s Final Cut Showcases Filmmakers from Africa, the Arab World

With the seventh edition of Final Cut in Venice, the Venice Production Bridge’s pics-in-post workshop for films from Africa and the Arab world, Final Cut head Alessandra Speciale points to sweeping cultural and technological changes that are transforming the means of production in those regions.

“The big changes that the African continent is currently experiencing are also driving cultural and artistic production, a kind of high-tech liberation triggered by the strong impetus of high-speed Internet,” said Speciale, fostering what she calls a “cinema without borders.”

Final Cut, which runs through Sept. 2, awards prizes and financial assistance to six selected projects, while offering African and Arab producers and directors one-on-one meetings with participants of the Venice Production Bridge’s Gap-Financing Market. The program’s growing reach — which has included works-in-progress from countries such as Lesotho, Libya and the Central African Republic — highlights the increasing capacity to produce films in countries without formal industries, while underscoring a trend toward more daring, formally experimental films.

“The most interesting productions that have recently achieved excellent results in international festivals are films that use increasingly documentary and hybrid narrative forms,” said Speciale.

Recent Final Cut alumni include Etienne Kallos’ “Die Stropers” (The Harvesters), which won critical acclaim after its Cannes Un Certain Regard premiere last year, and “aKasha” (The Roundup), the feature debut of Sudanese helmer Hajooj Kuka, which world premiered in Venice Critics’ Week in 2018.

This year’s selection includes “Another Day in Baghdad,” above, by Maysoon Pachachi (Iraq, France, Germany, U.K., Kuwait); “Mica,” by Ismaël Ferroukhi (Morocco, France); “Captains of Za’atari,” by Ali El-Arabi (Egypt); “Makongo,” by Elvis Sabin Ngaibino (Central African Republic, Argentina); “Nardjes, Alger, Mars 2019,” by Karim Ainouz (Algeria, France, Germany, Brazil); and “On the Way to the Billion,” by Dieudo Hamadi (Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Belgium).

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