20 DFI-backed films to screen at Dubai festival
December 05 2016 12:30 AM
A scene from Kashta, a short narrative by AJ al-Thani.

A total of 20 films, supported by the Doha Film Institute, are taking the spotlight at the eight-day Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) which begins on Wednesday.
In one of the largest participations of Qatar-backed projects, 15 films supported by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) will be screened at the 13th DIFF.
Several of these films were also nurtured at Qumra, the dedicated industry event where the filmmakers had the opportunity to discuss diverse aspects of the film with industry veterans.
A number of these films are competing for DIFF’s Muhr Awards, while two films are showcased in both the Cinema of the World and Arabian Nights segments.
Additionally, three films that are recipients of the DFI’s grants are being showcased in Dubai Film Connection, the co-production market of DIFF.
Hafiz Ali Ali, a Qatari producer-director, has been nominated for the prestigious IWC Filmmaker Award 2016 of the festival for his project, The Search for the Star Pearl, a feature animation that received the DFI’s grant for development and was nurtured by industry experts at Qumra earlier this year. Ali will compete alongside Emirati nominees and filmmakers Nujoom Alghanem and Abdullah Hassan Ahmed for the $100,000 award.
Adding to the pride of Qatar, Smicha (Qatar / 2016), a short narrative produced by Innovation Films, written and directed by Amal al-Muftah will mark its world premiere at DIFF. The film received in-house development support from the DFI, and will compete in the Muhr Gulf Short segment.
“This is a strong testament to the success of our grassroots-level initiative to identify, nurture and strengthen the filmmaking skills of our talented young people,” said Fatma al-Remaihi, CEO of the DFI.
“Through their selection, these films are highlighting the remarkable strides that Qatar has made in building a home-grown film industry marked by quality productions.”
The DFI grantees that have been short-listed at the Dubai Film Connection are: From A Palm Tree to the Stars, a feature documentary by Leila Albayaty (Iraq, France, Qatar); The Great Family by Eliane Raheb (Lebanon, France, Qatar) –a 2016 Qumra project – and Parijat, a feature narrative by Hend Fakhroo (Qatar), also a 2015 Qumra project.
Among the 15 films to be screened at DIFF that were supported by the Doha Film Institute, six are marking their world premiere.
They are: Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim (Egypt, UAE, France, Qatar / 2016), a feature narrative by Sherif El Bendary; Behind the Wall (Morocco, Qatar / 2016), a short narrative by Karima Zoubir;  Egyptian Jeanne d’Arc (Egypt, Kuwait, Germany, Qatar / 2016), a feature documentary by Iman Kamel; Kashta (Qatar/2016), a short narrative by AJ al-Thani; Terra Firma (Morocco, France, UAE, Qatar / 2016), a feature documentary by Laurent Ait Benalla; and The Waiting Room (Qatar/2016), a short narrative by Hend Fakhroo.
Six feature narratives will mark their Mena premiere at DIFF. These include: Apprentice (Singapore, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Qatar / 2016) by Junfeng Boo and Tramontane (Lebanon, France, UAE, Qatar/2016) by Vatche Boulghourjian that premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival; Blessed Benefit (Jordan, Germany, The Netherlands, UAE, Qatar / 2016) by Mahmoud al-Massad and Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory (Palestine, France, Lebanon, Qatar/2016), a feature essay by Mohanad Yaqubi that screened to audiences first at TIFF 2016; The Dark Wind (Iraq, Germany, Qatar /2016) by Hussein Hassan; and White Sun (Nepal, Netherlands, US, Qatar/2016) by Deepak Rauniyar.
Two films mark their Middle East debut at DIFF in the Muhr Feature and Arabian Nights segments. These are Hedi (Tunisia, Belgium, France, UAE, Qatar / 2016) by Mohamed Ben Attia that won the Best First Feature Award at Berlinale 2016; and Zaineb Hates the Snow (Tunisia, Lebanon, France, UAE, Qatar / 2016), a feature documentary by Kaouther Ben Hania, that premiered at the 2016 Locarno Film Festival. Also in the Arabian Nights segment is House Without Roof (Iraq, Germany, Qatar/2016), a feature narrative by Soleen Yusef, which marks its GCC premiere at DIFF.

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