Annemarie Jacir, Bassem Breish and Hala Lotfy to present projects at co-pro event taking place during Dubai International Film Festival.

Annemarie Jacir

Arab cinema focused co-production event the Dubai Film Connection (Dec 10-14) – taking place within the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) (Dec 9-16) - has unveiled its 2015 line-up.

Returning after a one-year hiatus, the DFC has unveiled a packed slate of 12 film projects from Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco and Jordan. 

Under new criteria for the relaunched event, the projects must have 20% of the budget in place.

“We were originally going for 10 projects but as there were so many good submissions we managed to squeeze in an extra two,” said director Jane Williams, who has returned as head of the event.

Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir, Lebanese filmmaker Bassem Breish and Egypt’s Hala Lotfy will be among the directors presenting their upcoming feature projects.

Jacir will present her Nazareth-set dark comedy Wajib revolving around an estranged father and son forced to spend the day together as they deliver wedding invitations.

Breish’s The Maiden’s Pond revolves around the complex secret life of a woman living in a remote village on Mount Lebanon.

Lotfy’s The Bridge tackles social injustice in Egypt through the tale of a woman whose son falls through a hole in a badly-maintained bridge, inspired by a true story that took place in Cairo.

The relaunched event also unveiled a new set of awards.

They comprise the $10,000 Cinescape/Front Row Award; the $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 DIFF.

In addition to the cash prizes, five participating Arab producers will receive accreditation to the Producers Network at the Cannes Film Festival.

“The Dubai Film Connection plays a pivotal role in helping regional filmmakers realize their potential and receive recognition on the world stage,” said Williams.

“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.”

Created in 2007, the DFC has showcased more than 70 projects from the Middle East over the years, 40 of which have been completed and gone on to screen at festivals all over the world.

Dubai Film Connection 2015 line-up

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