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All the Buzz on Film Festival Awards, Celebrity Tributes and the Film Awards Season.

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5 film projects received vital funding with dubai film connection

Director Mohamed Ismail Laouti (R) and producer Willy Rolle (C) winners of the DIFF Award during the Dubai Film Connection Awards  

More than USD 60,000 in prizes and unparalleled networking access to bring projects from script to screen

15 talented Arab filmmakers were awarded crucial funding and key partnership opportunities with the Dubai Film Connection (DFC), the co-production market of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF). Filmmakers behind shortlisted projects presented their work at DFC for a chance to win a stake of USD 60,000 in funding, and exclusive networking access with leading international and regional film industry experts to help bring their developing projects to life.


Since its inception, DFC has served as a platform for regional filmmakers to acquire supportive funding and partnership opportunities, helping 148 films from across the Arab world to share their stories with international audiences, 60 of which were completed.


With the support of SØRFOND, the Norwegian South Film Fund for films from developing markets, Director Bassel Ghandour and Producer Rula Nasser have been invited to the SØRFOND Pitching Forum, held during the 2018 Films from the South Festival in Oslo with their project The Alleys.


The nonfiction project The Syrians by Mohamed Ismail Laouti has been offered an invitation to the renowned Tribeca Film Institute, which takes place at the famed festival and the project also received a nomination for the next round of the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.


Cannes Producers Network offered five complementary accreditations to the following producers:


1.             Haider Rashid, EUROPA 

2.             Willy Rolle, THE SYRIANS

3.             Jessica Landt, I DREAMT OF AN EMPIRE

4.             Nayla Al Khaja, ANIMAL

5.             Anissa Daoud, GOD BLESS BUDDIES


The diverse array of awards, with generous funding totalling more than USD 60,000, is possible with support from prestigious regional organizations a part of the Dubai Film Connection, including:

·         EUR 5,000 from the Centre National du Cinema (CNC) Award

·         USD 10,000 from the Hideaway Entertainment Award

·         USD 10,000 from the Arab Radio and Television (ART) Award

·         USD 10,000 from the Cinescape/Front Row Award

·         USD 25,000 from the Dubai International Film Festival


Shivani Pandya, Managing Director, Dubai International Film Festival said: “The access and support provided by programmes like the Dubai Film Connection play a crucial role in the growth of Arab cinema and bringing the amazing work that come out of this region to an international audience. It gives us great pride to work alongside our returning and new partners to provide passionate filmmakers the chance to bring their work from script to the silver screen, and we look forward to seeing their amazing work come to fruition.”


The worthy winners of the DFC 2017 have been specially selected based on a range of criteria including quality of ideas, ability to reflect the diversity of filmmaking voices across the Arab world, project feasibility, ability of the production team to deliver the proposed project and the project’s potential for both international and Arab partners.


Dubai Film Connection Award Winners - 2017

DIFF Award – USD 25,000

Winning Project: The Syrians

Director: Mohamed Ismail Laouti

Producer: Willy Rolle


ART Award – USD 10,000

Winning Project: You Will Die at Twenty

Director: Amjad Abu Alaa

Producer: Hossam Elouan


Hideaway Entertainment Award – USD 10,000

Winning Project: The Unwanted

Director: Anwar Boulifa

Producer: Bertrand Faivre


Cinescape/Front Row Award – USD 10,000

Winning Project: The Alleys

Director: Bassel Ghandour

Producer: Rula Nasser


Centre National du Cinema (CNC) Award – Euros 5,000

Winning project: Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous

Director: Wissam Charaf

Producer: Charlotte Vincent


The DIFF box office is open online on at Additional information is also available through the Festival’s dedicated customer care number, 363 FILM (3456).