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DFI unveils first funding round of 2012

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) has unveiled the 23 features, documentaries and short films that will receive funding as part of its 2012 grants programme.

In contrast to previous DFI funding rounds, the 23 grant recipients include accomplished directors such as Morocco’s Hakim Belabbes and Lebanon’s Dima El Horr, in addition to emerging and first-time directors.

This year’s grant recipients also reflect a rise in applicants from Algeria including Yanis Koussim’s feature Algiers By Night and documentaries The Foreign Son, about a man returning to his homeland, and Matoub Lounes: The Story Of A Legend, about the famous Berber singer.

More than 40 film projects from over 10 countries received funding during DFI’s 2011 grants cycles, with most applying for production and post-production support. The DFI will also oversee a second round of funding in 2012.

Grant recipients for 2012 so far include:

Feature Narrative – Production:

A Concert – Nadim Tabet (Lebanon)

Amira and her friends plan a concert in Beirut to help fund their own apartment and independence. Life has other plans.

Aicha Bonheur – Hakim Belabbes (Morocco/UK/US)

In Casablanca, a teenage girl who loves to run is lured by the promise of professional coaching and equipment.

Algiers by Night – Yanis Koussim (Algeria)

The city comes alive at night, with roller-bladers, middle aged men, young women, insomniacs and party people and their stories.

Blessed Benefit – Mahmoud Al Massad (Jordan/Netherlands/Germany)

During Ramadan, a man sentenced for a minor financial misdemeanor finds peace and morality in the prison.

Feature Narrative – Post-Production:

Line of Sight – Aseel Mansour (Jordan/France)

A woman points a gun at a car thief and his accomplice. She needs to retrieve memories from her car, he needs an ear and some money.

Ideal Love – Dima El Horr (Lebanon)

Tamara, an attractive and sparkling biology professor, gets a taste of what could be love, and reconsiders migrating out of Lebanon.

The Day I Lost My Shadow – Soudade Kaadan (Syria)

Between water outages and power cuts, all Sana dreams about is a hot shower. She takes a day off from her two jobs to search for a gas cylinder.

Shelter – Kasem Kharsa (Egypt/Lebanon/UK/US/UAE)

Ghetto dweller Ahmed can’t remember his past but is haunted by a recurring nightmare where he is strangling a group of beautiful horses.

Feature Narrative - Development:

One Week Ago, Today – Rania Attieh (Lebanon)

An ageing prostitute takes charge of a young man with amnesia who is returned to his senile old father.

Short Narrative – Production:

Control Room – Mohammed Adeeb (Egypt)

In the state TV control room, the technical team is preparing for what is arguably the most important speech ever transmitted there: Mubarak’s address to the Tahrir Square demonstrators on January 25, 2011.

Playtime – Hamad Al-Tourah (Kuwait)

An eight-year-old boy wanders around Kuwait, trying to track down the mother who has left him home alone for a night out.

Mourning – Rama Mari (Palestine)

Yassin kills his father for brutalizing his mother – who is the martyr here, and who are the survivors?

The Box – Alaa Mosbah (Egypt)

Tariq, a teenager, wants to show his best friend that he is a man. But his mother gets in the way.

Feature Documentary – Development:

Salaam Plenty – Yasmine Kassari (Morocco/Belgium/Australia)

A portrait of Australia’s Afghan cameleers from the mid-1800s to 1930, based on testimony from their descendants, period photographs and press clippings. 

The Foreign Son – Abdallah Badis (Algeria/France)

50-year-old Omar returns to his homeland and the tortuous path unfolding in front of him, led by a providential child.

Matoub Lounes: The Story of a Legend– Regine Abadia (Algeria/France)

In the Berber-speaking world, Kabyle singer Matoub Lounès is a legend for standing up to a tyrannical military government and radical Islamism.

Freedom Fields – Naziha Arebi (Libya)

Sohad, a passionate female football scout, works her way across the country to discover and empower the women of Libya through sport.

Feature Documentary – Post-Production:

Embers – Tamara Stepanyan (Lebanon/Armenia)

A grandmother and granddaughter explore nostalgia, history, ideologies, war and peace.

Cursed be the Phosphate – Sami Tlili (Tunisia)

In January 2008, a group of unemployed youth began a movement of civil dissent. Four years later, what remains of this human adventure is broken souls, open wounds, pride, and dignity. 

Feature Documentary – Production:

Remnant of Photos – Khalil El-Muzayen (Palestine)

Gaza cinemas have gone silent, even though its people rushed into theatres to see the new releases. What has happened to film there today?

When Home… Becomes Hell – Dalila Ennadre (Morocco/France)

The Medina of Casablanca cries out for its inhabitants and their memory but above all, for a more human world.

Experimental Production/Post Production:

Encounters – Sarah Francis (Lebanon)

Feature: A glassed van roams the city, home to a camera that encourages people to share a personal moment with this moving confessional.

That Which is Coming – Sophia Al-Maria (Qatar)

Short: A meditation on the changing role of women in the Arabian Gulf, which casts woman as the elemental connector between life and death, the earth and the stars, past and future.

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