SANAD supports new voices in Emirati filmmaking, from record submissions in 2015


09 Sep 2015

Abu Dhabi’s fund supporting Arab filmmakers, today announced the recipients of its 2015 grants, including two Emirati filmmakers

  • Two Emirati filmmakers awarded 2015 SANAD grants
  • Women wow the judging panel with 10 female filmmakers awarded funding
  • First time filmmakers and renowned talent supported to propel the industry

SANAD, Abu Dhabi’s fund supporting Arab filmmakers, today announced the recipients of its 2015 grants, including two Emirati filmmakersFrom a record 178 submissions, the fund has granted financial support to 20 projects by filmmakers across the Arab world, to enable the development and post-production phases of each film and fuel the industry.

The two Emirati films receiving development stage funding are:

  • First Light Sun by Abdullah Hasan Ahmed; and
  • Honey, Rain and Dust by Nujoom Al Ghanem.

This year, female filmmakers made up 50 percent of the grantees, demonstrating the interest and talent of women in filmmaking in the region. SANAD has put the spotlight on the new voices of Arab cinema with grants to eight first time filmmakers, as well as continuing its support for renowned and emerging filmmaking talent in the region with grants to eight previous recipients of SANAD funding.

In addition to the two Emirati films, projects receiving development grants this year are:

  • The Bridge by Egyptian director Hala Lotfy;
  • The Notebooks by Lebanese directors Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas;
  • Wajib by Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir;
  • Retina by Tunisian director Nejib Belkadhi;
  • Algerian by Accident by Algerian director Karim Ainouz;
  • Mawal Ramsis by Egyptian director Tahani Rached;
  • The Mirrors of Diaspora by Iraqi director Kasim Abid;
  • The Disappeared by Lebanese director Yasmin Fedda; and
  • The Forgotten by Palestinian director Ghada Terawi.

  The projects receiving the SANAD grant for post-production are:

  • As I Open My Eyes by Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid;
  • Madame Courage by Algerian director Merzak Allouache;
  • Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim by Egyptian director Sherif El Bendary;
  • Inhebek Hedi by Tunisian director Mohammed Ben Attia;
  • Burning Hope by Tunisian director Lotfi Achour;
  • Suspension by Tunisian director Ala Eddine Slim
  • Tadmor by Lebanese directors Monika Borgmann and Lokman Slim;
  • 5 Seasons of Revolution by Syrian director Maya; and
  • Jellyfish by Syrian director Khaled Abdulwahed.

SANAD recipient As I Open My Eyes by Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid, was chosen to screen at this year’s Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, both taking place this month. Another SANAD film, Madame Courage by Algerian Merzak Allouache, was selected to participate in the Orrizonti Competition of Venice Film Festival.

Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54 said: “SANAD is an important initiative that enables filmmakers to develop and complete feature narrative or documentary films and therefore has fuelled creative talent, developed Arabic content and assisted in the process to showcase SANAD projects on an international stage. Our goal is to provide support for directors and producers in order to improve the content and direction of Arab cinema.”

Ali Al Jabri, Director of SANAD Fund said: “The fund seeks out outstanding projects with the aim of encouraging intercultural dialogue and artistic innovation and strengthening the capabilities of Arab filmmakers. These Arab films are making strides towards international recognition; not only are they being featured and screened at various film festivals, but they are also commendably competing and winning prominent accolades. We could not be more proud to play a role in their success.”

SANAD provides financial support to Arab filmmakers for the development and post production stage of a project, and has awarded more than 120 grants in the past six years. In total, SANAD has contributed to financing more than 100 films in support of enhancing and growing the film industry in the UAE and the Arab world. In the 2015 cycle, projects in development stage are eligible for up to 20,000 USD, while projects in post-production stage receive up to 60,000 USD.

SANAD supported films have continually been featured at international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Toronto and have received international recognition by winning numerous awards and accolades. SANAD provides not only funding but support to projects starting at the development stage; and continues its support until these films reach the big screens. Three examples of such films are TheebIraqi Odyssey and The Wanted 18, which were all awarded development and post production grants from SANAD. Likewise, films screened at international festivals over the past four years that were recipients of SANAD include A World Not Ours by Mahdi Fleifel, In My Mother’s Armby Atia and Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji and Annmarie Jacir’s film When I Saw You.

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