The Dubai Film Connection (DFC), the co-production market of the Dubai International Film Festival, has selected 15 new regional film projects for potential production support from over 130 submissions from Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Algeria, Syria and Iraq, among other regional markets.
The 15 films selected for the 2010-2011 cycle include 12 projects in development and three works in progress. The former include: Ali the Goat and Ibrahim by Ibrahim El Batout (Egypt/France); The Eagle and the Butterfly by Philippe Aractingi (Lebanon/France); The Bag of Flour by Khadija Leclere (Belgium/Morocco/France); Housekeeping by Mazen Khaled (Lebanon/Egypt); Gulf entry I am Nojood, 10 years old and Divorced, directed by Khadija Al Salami (Yemen/France); One Day and 124 Nights by Sabine El Chamma (Lebanon); The Replacement by Gilles Tarazi (Lebanon) and Standstill by Majdi El-Omari (Canada).
The shortlist also includes Trempoline (The Tree) by Elie Khalife (Lebanon); and documentary Fidai by Damien Ounouri, the first co-production with China at the DFC and a joint Algeria/France/China production. Algerian director and Muhr Award winner Merzak Allouache returns to the Dubai Film Connection with The Time of the Concord, as does compatriot Abdenour Zahzah’s documentary The River.
The three Work-in-Progress films are: Confession & Struggle, a documentary by Eliane Raheb (Lebanon); Rehleh, a feature by Meyar Al Roumi (Syria) and In Search of Oil and Sand, another documentary by EAVE graduate Philippe Dib (Egypt).
DFC, part of the Festival’s Dubai Film Market, opens doors to directors of Levant, Maghreb, Gulf or North African origin more than US$110,000 in seed funds and valuable industry connections. Since its inception in 2007, the DFC has showcased a total of over 52 projects of which 15 films have been completed and nine are in production.
Diff’10 will screen three films completed through DFC, highlighting the festival’s contribution to creating a strong film industry infrastructure by supporting projects from ideation to distribution. These films are: Zelal directed by Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui; This is My Picture When I was Dead by Mahmoud Al Massad; and Beit Sha’ar (Nomad’s Home) by Iman Kamel.
Shivani Pandya, DIFF Managing Director, said: “The most striking aspect of Dubai Film Connection is the high realisation rate of the projects at over 50 per cent. While globally films take about four years for completion, in just three years, we have facilitated the completion of 15 films with another nine nearing completion.”
Filmmakers whose projects have been chosen by DFC have also benefited from industry workshops hosted by Diff. The director and producer of Beit Sha’ar, Iman Kamel and Talal Al-Muhanna, respectively, are graduates of the Professional Coaching for Producers Programme hosted in collaboration with European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE), one of Europe’s leading training and development organisations, to offer professional coaching for producers.