Qatari Institution funds 26 projects from 14 countries. 


The Doha Film Institute has announced the latest recipients of its grants programme.

Six of the grantees premiere in Cannes this year: Apprentice and Dogs premiere in Cannes, Divines, in Directors’ Fortnight and Diamond Island, Mimosas and Tramontane in Critics’ Week.

The DFI also backed Asghar Farhadi’s Palme d’Or contender The Salesman but not as part of grants programme.

“I think it’s testament to the strength of our grants programme, the exciting new filmmakers emerging from our region and beyond, and the high quality of the films we are pleased to be able to support,” said said Fatma Al Remaihi, CEO of the Doha Film Institute.

A total of 26 projects from 14 countries – comprising 13 narrative features, six documentaries, three experimental or essay works and four short films – received funding for development, production or post-production in the spring 2016 funding round.

“The number of established film-makers applying has increased following the opening up of the post-production grants to all directors in the MENA region,” said Al Remaihi.

Established directors making the cut include Moroccan Hicham Lasri’s Headbang Lullaby about a policeman assigned to keep two warring neighbourhoods apart during a royal procession. Lasri is regarded as one of Morocco’s hottest upcoming directors on the back of films including Starve Your Dog

In a sign that Qatar’s dream of building a local film industry is taking flight, grantees also included three projects by Qatari directors:  Mohammed Al Ibrahim’s Bull Shark, Sara Al-Obaidly’s Coming of Age and Abdulla Al-Mulla’s short Green Eyes

“Our Spring grantees cover a broad range of subjects and represent some powerful new voices in cinema, but we are especially proud of the high quality of Qatari projects represented including four strong projects from established MENA filmmakers,” said Al Remaihi.

It was the 12th funding round since the grants programme began. The next session will open July 14 and close July 27.

The Doha Film Institute Grants Programme funding recipients for Spring 2016 are:

Feature Narrative/Development

Amerli - Yahya Al Allaq (Iraq/Qatar)

After the destruction of their hometown in northern Iraq, and the murder of their parents, Zainab and her brother Yousef are on the run, intent on reaching the town of Amerli.

Bull Shark - Mohammed Al Ibrahim (Qatar)

An up-and-coming investment banker makes his mark in the Arab region’s most prominent Islamic investment bank, only to find out that he has been caught in the middle of the costliest embezzlement scheme in Arab history.

Coming of Age - Sara Al-Obaidly (Qatar/United Kingdom/Italy/Turkey/Nepal)

Two mod girls from South East London embark on a dream holiday but end up on the journey of a lifetime, crossing continents and cultures, and growing up over three wild years on the road.

A House in Jerusalem - Muayad Alayan (Palestine/Qatar)

A Jewish American family finds it hard to adapt to their new home in Jerusalem after they discover the grave of a young Palestinian girl.

Feature Narrative/Production

I Dreamt of Empire - Kasem Kharsa (Egypt/Germany/France/Qatar)

An Egyptian professor travels back and forth through time in an attempt to save his only son and reclaim the past

Screwdriver - Bassam Jarbawi (Palestine/Qatar)

Driven to psychosis by the torture he underwent in an Israeli prison, an ex-basketball champ struggles to reassimilate into society. As reality blurs with his hallucinations, he cannot help but drive himself back into incarceration

You Will Die at Twenty - Amjad Abu Alala (Sudan/Qatar)

When Mozamel is born in a Sudanese village where the ideas of Sufism hold sway, a prophecy says he will die in his twenties. He lives in fear until Sulaiman, an elderly cinematographer, appears in his life

Feature Documentary/Production

The Forgotten - Ghada Terawi (Palestine/Qatar)

A look at the life of Kozo Okamoto, a Japanese freedom fighter who gave up his life in Japan after joining the movement to liberate Palestine

Feature Experimental or Essay/Production

On Trials

Jasmina Metwaly, Philip Rizk (Egypt/Qatar)

In an attempt to question the legal realm, ‘On Trials’ explores the performative aspect of the law in Egypt through performances by judges, lawyers, defendants, journalists and law students

Short Narrative/Production

Born in the Maelstrom - Meryam Joobeur (Tunisia/Canada/Qatar)  Rebecca, an 18-year-old biracial girl, is bound in an imaginary world shaped by her black mother’s painful past. She searches for liberation from this place where she does not belong

Green Eyes - Abdulla Al-Mulla (Qatar)

The tireless struggle of a coma patient in the oceanic depths of his own reality, as he faces off against his own ego and the mysterious monster that lives within

The President’s Visit - Cyril Aris (Lebanon/Qatar)

When the men in a fishing village learn of the secret upcoming visit of their country’s president, they embark on a never-ending struggle to maintain the perfect image of their town

To the One Who Didn’t Give Me Life - Wassim Geagea (Lebanon/Qatar)

When his mother unexpectedly dies, a nine-year-old boy kidnaps a statue of the Virgin Mary in  order to blackmail Jesus into returning her

Feature Narrative/Post Production

Headbang Lullaby - Hicham Lasri (Morocco/France/Qatar)

A policeman is sent by his dissatisfied superiors to spend a day on a bridge between two warring neighborhoods, where he is charged with ensuring the security of a hypothetical royal procession

The Journey - Mohamed Al Daradji (Iraq/Qatar)

Sara is on the cusp of committing an unthinkable act, but time stands still and she is given the opportunity to witness the consequences of her destructive action

Whispering Sands - Nacer Khemir (Tunisia/France/Qatar)

An encounter in the desert between a woman haunted by her family’s tragic past, and her guide, who discovers his own family’s dark future

Dark Skull - Kiro Russo (Bolivia/Qatar)

A conflictive young man lived rejecting his father, after he passed away the young man must return to his village to replace him in the tin mines. Who was his father?”

Diamond Island - Davy Chou (Cambodia/France/Germany/Qatar) 

Bora leaves his home village for the worksites of Diamond Island, a contemporary playground for the rich outside Phnom Penh. There, he finds his mysterious older brother Solei, whom he has not seen in years

Dogs - Bogdan Mirica (Romania/France/Bulgaria/Qatar)

Roman seeks to sell the land near the Romanian border with Ukraine that he has just inherited from his grandfather, but the local men will not let go of it without a fight.

Feature Documentary/Post Production

A Comedian in a Syrian Tragedy - Rami Farah (Syria/Denmark/Qatar)

An intimate portrait of Syrian actor Fares Helou, who calls for freedom of speech, is forced to flee his home country, and experiences the absurdities of existence in exile

Summer of 2015 - Angie Obeid (Lebanon/Qatar)

Twenty-seven-year-old Angie, a Lebanese filmmaker, hosts a 53-year-old Syrian woman in her small apartment in Beirut. There, they wait endlessly for an opportunity to reach a better place.

City of the Sun - Rati Oneli (Georgia/Qatar)

A surreal vision of the lives of the few inhabitants of Chiatura, Georgia – a post-Soviet ghost town

Listen to the Silence - Mariam Chachia (Georgia/Qatar)

Nine years old and completely deaf, Luka dreams of dancing on stage. He follows his dream and learns Georgian folk-dancing, after which his life changes completely

Untitled Congo Project Daniel McCabe (USA/Congo/Qatar)

An unfiltered look into the lives of three people who are surviving amid the most recent cycle of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo – the M23 rebellion

Feature Experimental or Essay/Post Production

Experimental Summer - Mahmoud Lotfy (Egypt/Qatar)

Mahmoud and Zainab are making a documentary about ‘Experimental Summer’, an  independent Egyptian film produced in the mid-1980s whose makers are unknown

The Insomnia of a Serial Dreamer - Mohamad Soueid (Lebanon/Qatar)

A personal essay of dreams, images and clouds, built from visual materials filmed over the last 15 years in different formats and locations