The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced an expansion of the Middle East’s most successful co-production market – the Dubai Film Connection – via a new focus on documentary films. The documentary focus will include a dedicated US$25,000 documentary prize from DIFF in addition to earmarked funds from regional and international partners, and a series of new collaborations.
Today’s announcement is part of celebrations marking the Dubai Film Connection’s fifth edition. Since its launch in December 2007, the co-production market has showcased 64 projects from the Middle East, of which 18 films have been completed and debuted to international acclaim and an additional six are in production.
Shivani Pandya, Managing Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “We are very proud of the Dubai Film Connection’s success rate, a significant measure by any industry standard, and we look forward to expanding the footprint of Middle Eastern cinema around the world.”
“With the recent rise in documentary filmmaking, and events around the world sparking debate, we feel that this is an important category that is worthy of recognition and encouragement within the Arab world.”
The Dubai Film Connection will also unveil a new collaboration with the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival at Cannes. As part of Copenhagen’s DOX: LAB training programme, three filmmakers from the Middle East will be selected to develop film projects alongside three filmmakers from Denmark. The programme will include a workshop in Copenhagen and an invitation to present the joint projects at the Dubai Film Connection in December 2011.
The co-production market selects 15 new regional film projects for potential production support annually, from a field of hundreds across the Levant, Maghreb, Gulf, North Africa and other markets home to filmmakers of Arab nationality and origin.
Submissions are now being accepted for documentary and feature film projects that are in-development from filmmakers of Arab nationality and origin. Deadline for submission is August 1, 2011.
In addition to more than US$100,000 in funding, the Dubai Film Connection offers its shortlisted director/producer teams invaluable industry connections, including matchmaking with specialists in film production, sales, distribution and funding.
Apart from the Copenhagen DOX:LAB training programme and DIFF prize, filmmakers from the region can access DFC documentary opportunities including a US$15,000 award offered by Screen Institute Beirut and benefit from relationships with DOX BOX, the annual international film festival for creative documentary based in Syria, and the Beirut DC documentary collective in Lebanon. As part of the new documentary emphasis, the number of documentaries selected will range between five and seven projects annually.
All applicants will also be considered for the Dubai Film Connection’s fiction sponsored awards, including a €6,000 prize from ARTE France, US$10,000 Film Clinic award for a debut feature film, two DIFF awards of US$25,000 each and five registrations for producers from the Arab world to the prestigious Producers Network at Cannes 2012.
Since 2007, the Dubai Film Connection has successfully showcased a total of 64 projects, (48 fiction and 16 documentaries). Recent successes include award winners This is My Picture When I was Dead by Mahmoud Al Massad and Marianne Khoury’s Zelal, Simon El Habre’s One Man Village and Raed Andoni’s Fix Me; and feature films Amreeka by Cherien Dabis, a FIPRESCI winner; Every Day is a Holiday by Dima El-Horr and Death for Sale by director Faouzi Bensaidi.
The fifth edition of the Dubai Film Connection, will take place from December 8 to 11, 2011, alongside the Dubai International Film Festival. DFC alumni include filmmakers from Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Tunisia, Yemen and Kuwait. Countries outside of the Arab world which have been represented include: Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Italy, Netherlands and the USA.