SANAD fund announces the first cycle of grants in support of Arab filmmakers 2014

15 May 2014

SANAD celebrates fifth anniversary and over 100 films and projects

Abu Dhabi Film Festival’s fund, SANAD, today announced the first cycle of grants for 2014 to support the development and post-production of several films by filmmakers from across the Arab world.

Projects receiving post-production grants are Cat, directed by Ibrahim El Batout; The Valley, directed by Ghassan Salhab; The Wanted 18, directed by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan; Um Ghayeb, directed by Nadine Salib; and Pirates of Salé, directed by Merieme Addou and Rosa Rogers.

Projects receiving development grants are Money Babe, directed by Hiner Saleem – who was previously awarded both a SANAD Development Grant in 2012 and Post-Production Grant in 2013 for his film My Sweet Pepper Land.

Hedi, directed by Mohammed Ben Attia, and produced by Dora Bouchoucha – who was previously awarded a SANAD Development grant in 2010 for the film Foreign Body which was directed by Raja Amari, and a Post-Production Grant in 2012 for the film Cursed by The Phosphate, directed by Sami Tlili, and received the “Best Film from The Arab World” at The Abu Dhabi Film Festival’ Documentary Film Competition.

Additional projects include Catch the Moon, directed by Sameh Zoabi; Kiss Me Not, directed by Ahmed Amer; Sons of Sunday, directed by Rami Kodeih; The Golden Harvest, directed by Alia Yunis; and The Bird of the Mountains, directed by Daoud Aoulad-Siyad

“SANAD seeks out bold, remarkable projects with the aim of encouraging intercultural dialogue and artistic innovation, while building strong networks within the region,” said Ali Al Jabri, Director of Abu Dhabi Film Festival. “SANAD also offers ongoing support and publicity for selected projects to connect filmmakers to potential partners, funding opportunities and audiences.”

Al Jabri added: “SANAD has enabled the production of original films that might not have made it past the concept stage without support, and supported filmmakers who have gone on to build successful careers in the industry. The fund has fueled creative talent and supplemented twofour54’s work in developing a major media hub in Abu Dhabi and the region.”

Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), which is powered by twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, will be celebrating SANAD’s fifth anniversary this October. ADFF has funded over 100 film projects as part of its mission to drive the emergence of a filmmaking hub in the UAE and the Arab World.

Both established and upcoming filmmakers with challenging and innovative projects applied for the grant. SANAD provides financial advice and technical guidance and encourages the successful applicant’s participation in festivals around the world. The successful projects this year were from Palestine, Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Lebanon.

SANAD supported films have continually been featured at several international film festivals and have received international recognition by winning numerous awards and accolades. Some of these films have been in competition at Cannes such as, ‘After the Battle’ which was directed by Yousry Nasrallah, ‘My Sweet Pepper Land’ by Hiner Saleem, and ‘On the Edge’ by Leila Kilani.

‘The Good, The Bad, and the Politician’ directed by Tamer Ezzat, Ayten Amin and Amr Salama and “As We are Catching the Copra” by Hala Al Abdallah, both funded by SANAD, were selected by the Venice Film Festival.

SANAD films have played a leading role in the selection of Arab films at the Toronto International Film Festival throughout the past four years. Some of these selected films were ‘Death for Sale’ by Faouzi Bensaïdi, and ‘In My Mothers Arms’ by Atia and Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji. The Arab films selected at last year’s Berlinale included three films supported by SANAD;  ‘When I Saw You’ by Annemarie Jacir, ‘Coming Forth By Day’ by Hala Lotfy and ‘A World Not Ours’ by Mahdi Fleifel, which was showcased at more than 100 international festivals, and gained more than 30 awards. This is a testament to SANAD’s commitment in supporting projects by Arab filmmakers, while in development, and later as they begin post production.

Many films supported by SANAD have been recognised by leading international film festivals and have won prestigious awards globally. This is a testament to SANAD’s commitment in supporting Arab projects with grants up to US$20,000 for development and up to $60,000 for post-production

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