Danish-Palestinian filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel is set to launch a crowd-funding campaign on Dubai-based platform Aflamnah this January to finance a 2015 Oscar race bid with his award-winning documentary A World Not Ours.
The documentary, a humorous account of life in the Ein el-Helweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, has won a slew of awards since premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012.
It is not eligible, however, for Oscar consideration because it has not been released in New York and Los Angeles as per the regulations of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
“The big question is, can a Palestinian film win an Oscar?” said Fleifel.
“My film has suffered a lot because people keep saying we’ve just had 5 Broken Cameras,” he continued, referring to Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s work which was Oscar short-listed last year.
“My film is the antithesis of that film. I really wanted to break away from all the stereotypes tha the film, in my opinion, plays on: the victimised voiceover, the oud playing, burning olive trees. It was not a film for me.”
The documentary won the Grand Jury Prize in DOC NYC in November, which ensures it a release at the IFC in New York. Fleifel now wants to raise funds to finance a release in Los Angeles.
The filmmaker was at DIFF this year attending the Dubai Film Connection (DFC) financing event with his debut fiction feature Men In The Sun, about two illegal Palestinians immigrants trying to survive in Athens.
Danish Signe Byrge Sorensen, who is the producer on Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar long-listed documentary The Act Of Killing, is producing Men In The Sun.
Fleifel, who grew up between Lebanon, Dubai and Denmark, produced A World Not Ours alongside British filmmaker Patrick Campbell, who he met while attending the UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS).
Eurozoom recently released the film, to rave reviews, in France and it is due to come out in the UK at the beginning of 2014.