Doha Film Institute (DFI) today unveiled at Cannes, a significant expansion to its existing grants program, which will allow it to support new talent from around the world. 

The expanded program is open to first- and second-time filmmakers only. Applications are accepted from three regions: the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee list of countries (DAC); and the rest of the world. Different submissions criteria apply for each region.

DFI Grants will retain its emphasis on supporting filmmakers from the MENA region, while at the same time opening its program to emerging talent from around the world. Under the new criteria, all projects by directors and screenwriters from the MENA region are eligible for submission. Any narrative features from DAC countries are also eligible. All other submissions are by invitation only.

In total the program will support up to eight narrative and four documentary features from all regions and up to eight further projects from the MENA region in each grant cycle. There are two grant cycles per annum.

Further details on the eligibility criteria will be available on DFI’s website ( from mid-June. Submissions for the next grant cycle will be accepted from July 15, 2013.

Meanwhile, in the final cycle of DFI’s MENA Grants program, 19 new projects have been selected for the 2013 spring session, including 11 fiction and 8 documentary films selected from 236 applicants. A significant increase in applications from North Africa was noted this round, as well as a marked rise in co-production applicants.

Paul Miller, Head of DFI Film Financing, said: “It’s fantastic to see the originality and range of themes and topics that our 19 recipients have shown in this round of submissions, as well as the large number of female and first- and second-time directors. This round of applicants impressed us with their highly personal stories that reflect the complex social and cultural realities of contemporary life in theMENA region. We look forward to working with them to bring these new projects to life.

Miller concluded: “We have decided to expand our grants program to allow DFI to have a hand in discovering the next generations of film talent from around the world. In the future, our grants scheme will allow for ever-increasing creative and cultural exchange among MENA recipients and talented individuals who represent film culture around the world”.

I’ll return with individual profiles; but in the meantime, grantees for the Spring 2013 session are:

Feature Narrative – Development Grants

Feature Narrative – Production Grants

Feature Narrative – Post-Production Grants

  • Ghetto Child (Guillaume Tordjman and Uda Benyamina, Tunisia/Morocco)
  • Theeb (Naji Abu Nowar, Jordan)

Short Narrative – Production Grants

Feature Documentary – Development Grant

Feature Documentary – Production Grants