Film-makers Jessica Habie and Deema Dabis have launched the Fajr Falestine Film Fund to support production of experimental films from the Middle East with particular emphasis on Palestinian films.  

US-based non-profit The Eyes Infinite Foundation will run the fund, which aims to create a film collective in which five selected film-makers will receive financial support.

The five inaugural film-makers selected by the Film Fund’s ‘Pillars’, a panel of international artists and scholars, are: Jessica Habie, Deema Dabis, Rashid Abdelhamid and a pair of film-makers calling themselves Tarzan and Arab.

The judges include Amreeka director Cherien Dabis, writer-actress Najla Said, film scholar Robert Keser, Arab Film Festival programmer Laurence Mazouni, film-maker Natalie Handalm, Palestinian artist Sharif Waked and film-maker Iman Aoun.

The goal is to release five projects every two years, growing the funding pool every year over a 10-year period until the collective is able to develop, produce and distribute five feature projects every funding cycle.  

The fund’s first film, Mars At Sunrise, was directed by Habie and goes on limited theatrical release on February 7 with digital roll-out to follow.

The film-makers will employ a pay-it-forward digital distribution model on the film in collaboration with Distrify, which allows organisations and individuals to embed films on their websites and social media pages to create additional revenue streams.

All profits from the digital release of Mars At Sunrise will go back into the fund in order to finance additional projects.  

“We created the Fajr Falestine Film Fund in order to provide a new distribution avenue to a vibrant community of film-makers and artists creating experimental films exploring contemporary issues in the Arab world,” said Habie.

“We strongly believe in the power of cinema to incite social change and are thrilled to offer like-minded film-makers an opportunity to receive funding, guidance and distribution for their films.”