Cannes Market and Dubai Film Market Promote Arab Cinema with Works-In-Progress

By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz

The Marché du Film (Cannes Film Market), in partnership with the Dubai Film Market (DFM), will present an exclusive screening of five Arab films in post-production amongst the works-in-progress line-up at this year’s Cannes Film Festiva

The Marché du Film (Cannes Film Market), in partnership with the Dubai Film Market (DFM), will present an exclusive screening of five Arab films in post-production amongst the works-in-progress line-up at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: “300 Nights,” “Border of Heaven,” “The Curve,” “Medina,” and “The Other Side of November.” Films part of the Dubai Film Market Goes to Cannes showcase will be screened to sales agents, distributors and festival programmers in Cannes, with filmmakers giving a brief introduction before showcasing excerpts from their films.

In addition five filmmakers who showcased their films at DIFF’s 11th edition and the winners of the ‘The Reel Dubai Short Film Contest’ and ‘The Samsung Short Film Contest’ will present their films in the Cannes Short Film Corner, an essential platform to show their projects to a massive audience, pitch future projects, and make many important connections with industry professionals from around the world.

Through the Dubai Film Market’s (DFM), the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) plans to strengthen its program to further support filmmakers, develop a thriving film culture in the region, build a sustainable industry and promote Arab cinema on an international platform for the 12th edition which runs from December 9-16, 2015.

The Dubai Film Connection (DFC), the region’s co-production market will return to the DFM.  Launched in 2007, the DFC raised the visibility of Arab filmmakers and stimulated the growth of independent film production in the region. Over the years, numerous past DFC projects have found critical acclaim around the world.

Shivani Pandya, DIFF Managing Director said: “We’re very excited to reinstate the Dubai Film Connection.  The filmmakers and industry professionals wanted it back and we listened.  By offering the right networking and support opportunities the DFC opens doors for Arab talent to promote and develop their film projects and it becomes a platform for producers and funds to find the best Arab projects ready for production.

The DFC is now open for submissions for feature-length fiction and documentary projects in development by directors of Arab nationality or origin.  The co-production market introduces Arab filmmakers to regional and international film backers and organizations. Deadline for submission is August 1st, 2015 and details are available at

Enjaaz, the Dubai Film Market’s post-production and production support program continues to go from strength to strength, lending invaluable backing to a further ten of the region’s filmmakers.

The latest recipients of Enjaaz funding include: Mahmoud Al Massad’s “Blessed Benefit,” Jihane Chouaib’s “Breathe,” Halkawt Mustafa’s “El Clasico,” Fares Naanaa’s “Borders of Heaven,” Fawzi Saleh’s “Fish Killed Twice,” Mai Masri’s “3000 Nights,” Hany Abu Assad’s “Arab Idol,” Afraa Batous’s “Skin,” Maryanne Zéhil’s “The Other Side of November” and Hakim Belabbes’s “Weight of the Shadow.”

Enjaaz is central to the DFM’s strategy of developing the regional film industry by discovering and supporting filmmaking talent.  By enabling more films to get realized, Enjaaz serves to diversify the choice of Arab films available to audiences. A total of 17 films supported by Enjaaz were screened at the 11th edition of DIFF and more than 110 films have benefited from the program since its inception.

Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen, the Official ‘Festival-Time’ Partner of the DIFF, continue their support with the highly anticipated fourth IWC Filmmaker Award offering a cash prize of $100,000 which will help the winning filmmaker bring their ideas to life on screen. This collaboration reinforces IWC’s global commitment to promoting the film-making industry and supporting talent in cinema with submissions opening later this month.

The DFM’s most recent initiative, the Dubai Distribution Program (DDP) launched last year to promote and facilitate the distribution of Arab films has achieved success with local, regional and international titles being picked up from DIFF’s 2014 film program. The DDP has expanded this year to offer greater opportunity for independent filmmakers to obtain distribution and showcase their films to a wider audience by screening films at MIPTV, the largest global distribution market and at the Cannes International Film Festival.

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