nullTwelve film projects will be brought to this year’s Dubai Film Connection (DFC), the notable co-production market at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), with a hope of securing crucial funding and beneficial partnerships within the film industry. DFC provides a platform for emerging filmmakers of Arab descent (mostly North African and the Middle East in this case) to acquire over $80,000 in award money and build networks with experts from across the industry to help bring their scripts to the screen. A hub for collaboration and development, DFC is part of the Dubai Film Market at DIFF, which represents the Festival’s commitment to supporting the Arab film industry and providing a global platform for talent from the region. 

With an impressive and highly coveted spread of awards to be won, the projects vying to secure support at this year’s Dubai Film Connection are:

• The Bridge – Hala Lotfy, Egypt 
• A Step Behind the Sun – Narjiss Nejjar, Morocco 
• Amal – Mohamed Siam, Egypt
• Pagan Magic – Fyzal Boulifa, Morocco
• Weight Throwers – Hind Bensari, Morocco 
• Daoud’s Winter – Koutaiba Al-Janabi, Iraq 
• Ibrahim – Lina Alabed, Jordan 
• My Favourite Fabric – Gayaneh Jiji, Syria 
• Papion on Top of the Water Tank – Yahya Alabdallah, Jordan 
• The Inheritor – Halim Sabbagh, Lebanon 
• The Maiden’s Pond – Bassem Breish, Lebanon 
• Wajib – Annemarie Jacir, Palestine 

Since its inception in 2007, the DFC has achieved incredible success in showcasing qualified film projects, with more than 40 films being completed and going on to achieve acclaim around the world. 

The awards from supporting institutions that make this all possible as part of Dubai Film Connection include: $10,000 Cinescape/Front Row Award; $10,000 Empire Award; $15,000 Fortress Film Clinic Award; $10,000 Sanad Film Fund Abu Dhabi Award; $10,000 from the ART Award; and $25,000 from the Dubai International Film Festival. 

In addition to the cash prizes, the DFC will also select five of its participating Arab producers to receive complimentary accreditation to the Producers Network at the Cannes Film Festival, a high-profile networking series featuring producers from around the world.

The filmmakers and their projects employ a multitude of encapsulating themes and diverse filmmaking techniques to portray evocative and gripping stories from the region. Shivani Pandya, DIFF’s Managing Director, commented on the growing platform for DFC within the region: “DIFF is proud to work alongside a plethora of new and exciting partners in support of the DFC, and Dubai Film Market overall… With no shortage of opportunities for the Arab community to have their work rewarded on this stellar platform, DIFF recognises the contribution of partners and hopes that they can continue to work in partnership to support the communities and the individuals within the industry.” 

Jane Williams, Director – Film Connection, added: “The Dubai Film Connection plays a pivotal role in helping regional filmmakers realize their potential and receive recognition on the world stage. The great industry support and networking opportunities that it offers creates a stimulating environment that exposes regional filmmakers to lucrative business and funding opportunities which help them to transcend limitations and affirm the position of Arab filmmakers on the international stage.”