A total of 37 projects by first- and second-time filmmakers from around the world and established names from the Arab world have been selected by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) for its Spring 2019 Grants cycle, which aims to nurture a new generation of creative talents and support the development of original and compelling content.
Underlining the important role of Arab women in filmmaking, 18 of the chosen projects are by talented female directors from the region, including a Qatari national.
The announcement of the recipients of the 2019 Spring Grants cycle, which covers feature, documentary, short film and TV and web series projects, was made on the sidelines of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival by Fatma Hassan al-Remaihi, chief executive officer, DFI.
“The diversity of this cycle’s projects combined is incredible and each project tells an important story that is specific to its local context but also universal and presents new perspectives on humanity,” al-Remaihi said. “This is especially true of the selected Arab projects that represent some powerful new and established voices, who bring our hopes, dreams and values to life. We hope their stories will further understanding of the Arab world and contribute to a global culture of storytelling.”
Among the 37 projects selected for the 2019 Spring Grants cycle are the next recipients of the TV and web series grants introduced last year. Highlighting its role as a champion of Arab cinema, 31 projects are by Arab directors from the Mena region, including three by Qatari talents, and a project from Yemen featured for the first time. Six projects are chosen from outside the Mena region, including China, Afghanistan, Italy, Canada, Serbia and the Philippines.
Awarded films The Orphanage (Afghanistan, Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Qatar) by Shahrbanoo Sadat and To Live, To Sing (China, France, Qatar) by Johnny Ma will make their global debut at Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des Realisateurs) at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. They are both recipients of this year’s post-production grants.
The 2019 Spring Grants recipients are as follows -
l Feature Narrative – Development: A Road to Damascus (Lebanon, France, Qatar) by Meedo Taha; and Plum Season (Morocco, Qatar) by Rim Mejdi.
l Feature Documentary – Development: Do You Love Me (Lebanon, Germany, Qatar) by Lana Daher; Machtat (Tunisia, France, Lebanon, Qatar) by Sonia Ben Slama; The Body of René (Syria, Qatar) by Dani Abo Louh; The Mother of All Lies (Morocco, France, Qatar) by Asmae El Moudir; and Yalla, Baba! (Lebanon, Belgium, Qatar) by Angie Obeid.
l TV Series – Development: Faraya (Lebanon, Qatar) by Nadim Tabet and Mounia Akl; and Heim (Syria, Lebanon, Germany, Qatar) by Liwaa Yazji.
l Feature Narrative – Production: Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous (Lebanon, France, Germany, Qatar) by Wissam Charaf; Motherhood (Tunisia, France, Canada, Qatar) by Meryam Joobeur; and Passerby (Syria, Palestine, Germany, Qatar) by Ameer Fakher Eldin.
l Feature Documentary – Production: Al Yarmouk Ghetto (Syria, Lebanon, Qatar) by Abdallah al-Khateeb; Fouledh (Tunisia, Qatar) by Mehdi Hmili and Abdallah Chamekh; Searching for Kikhia (Libya, UK, Lebanon, Qatar) by Jihan Kikhia; and The Passion According to Andrew (Lebanon, France, Qatar) by Corine Shawi.
l Feature Experimental or Essay – Production: Firefly in The Darkness of Time (Algeria, France, Qatar) by Djamel Kerkar; and Watch Before Deletion (Egypt, Germany, Qatar) by Mohamed Shawky Hassan.
l Web Series – Production: Kawkabani (Qatar) by Hossein Heydar and Amal Alshammari.
l Feature Narrative – Post-Production: A Son (Tunisia, France, Lebanon, Qatar) by Mehdi Barsaoui; Headed South (Algeria, France, Qatar) by Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche; The Woodman (Iraq, Qatar) by Koutaiba al-Janabi; The Names of The Flowers (Canada, US, Bolivia, Qatar) by Bahman Tavoosi; and The Orphanage (Afghanistan, Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Qatar) by Shahrbanoo Sadat; and To Live to Sing (China, France, Qatar) by Johnny Ma.
l Feature Documentary – Post-Production: After A Revolution (Italy, Libya, UK, Qatar) by Giovanni Buccomino; It Comes by Night (the Philippines, France, Norway, Qatar) by Alyx Ayn Arumpac; Merry Christmas, Yiwu (Serbia, Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Qatar) by Mladen Kovacevic; The Cave (Syria, Denmark, US, Qatar) by Feras Fayyad; and The Kingdom of Malika (Algeria, France, Qatar) by Hassen Ferhani.
l Feature Experimental or Essay – Post-Production: Temporarily (Syria, Germany, Qatar) by Reham Alkassar Reham.
l Shorts: Hope (Qatar) by Abdulla al-Jananhi; J’ai Le Cafard (Kuwait, Qatar) by Maysaa Almumin; The Present (Palestine, Qatar) by Farah Nabulsi; Sameh Morsy’s Sixteen (Egypt, France, Qatar); This Is Not a Drill (Qatar) by Nadia al-Khater; and Yemini director Mariam al-Dhubhani’s In the Middle (Yemen, Qatar).
Development, production and post-production funding is available for first- and second-time directors from the Mena region for feature-length projects. Short films from the Mena region are eligible for production funding only. Development funding is available to screenwriters from the region for TV series, while production funding is available to directors from the region for web series.
Established Mena directors can apply for post-production funding for feature-length projects. Post-production funding is also available for first- and second-time filmmakers from around the world for feature-length projects.
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