6 items from 2016
Out of 61 applications received, 9 productions were granted support by an international jury consisting of Rima Mismar (Lebanon), Dag Johan Haugerud (Norway) and Yngvild Sve Flikke (Norway). Among these films, 7 are fiction films and 2 are documentary.
The jury said this year's selection included a great variety of projects, which made it possible for the jury to pick a diverse selection of films with an extensive geographical range and good gender balance.
The majority of the projects are the directors feature film debut, in addition to some more established directors. The projects presents new views on important aspects of living; family ties, relationships across generations, homosexuality and aging - everything set against historical, political and social contexts of their respective countries.
For more information on Sørfond's grant support visit Here
The following productions received funding:
"Map of Latin American Dreams"
Director: Martin Weber
Script: Martin Weber
Norwegian co-producer: Lightsource Film Production As - Arne Dahr
Main producer: Maravillacine
Amount of support: 280,000 Nok (approx. 30,400 Eur)
Project synopsis: Between 1992 and 2013, the photographer Martin Weber travelled through eight countries in Latin-America and asked people to write down their dreams on a blackboard. The film is a documentary road movie were Weber reflects on the people in the photographs, and we follow him on a new journey after the people he photographed to see how they have changed in line with their dreams.
"Will She Win the War?"
Director: Mina Keshavarz
Script: Mina Keshavarz
Norwegian co-producer: Gammaglimt As - Christian Falch
Main producer: MinDoc
Amount of support: 180,000 Nok (approx. 19,500 Eur)
Project synopsis: Roghieh, mother of five, decides to make a bazaar for female street vendors in her local community in South Iran. The bazaar is threatened by the new mayor, who want to tear it down and replace it with a shopping mall. Roghieh takes up the fight.
Director: Marcelo Martinessi
Script: Marcelo Martinessi
Norwegian co-producer: Norsk Filmproduksjon As - Hilde Berg
Main producer: La Babosa Cine
Amount of support: 415,000 Nok (approx. 45,000 Eur)
Project synopsis: Asuncion, Paraguay. 2012. The Heiresses is the story of a woman of prosperous social background. She had inherited enough money to live comfortably. But at 60 years old she realizes that her inherited money is gone. This new reality alters the balance in which she has been living and forces her to transform a world that until then had seemed motionless.
"Where Life is Born"
Director: Carlos Reygadas
Script: Carlos Reygadas
Main producer: Mantarraya Producciones
Amount of support: 280,000 Nok (approx. 30,400 Eur)
Project synopsis: "Where Life is Born" is a simple, but strong story about love and loss of love in an open relationship. The story follow a married couple in a difficult period and unfolds on their ranch were they breed fighting bulls.
Director: Alvaro Delgado Aparicio
Script: Hector Gálves and Alvaro Delgado Aparicio
Main producer: Siri prod
Amount of support: 460,000 Nok (approx. 50,000 Eur)
Project synopsis: An artisan family in the highlands of Peru makes traditional art. The respective master teaches his son, Segundo, the secrets of the art. The father is Segundo´s hero and and beacon in life, until Segundo discover his fathers secret life.
Director: Jhonny Hendrix
Script: Maria Camila Arias and Jhonny Hendrix
Main producer: Antorcha Films
Amount of support: 415,000 Nok (approx. 45,000 Eur)
Project synopsis: An old couple in Havana awakens their sleeping love life with a video camera. The films they make takes the couple out of a difficult economic situation. "Candelaria" is a film about love, moral and difficult decisions.
Director: Hala ElKoussy
Script: Hala ElKoussy
Main producer: Transit Films
Amount of support: 370,000 Nok (approx. 40,200 Eur)
Project synopsis: About three people in Kairo that is brought together in a moment of homelessness. The trio embark on a journey, which leads to an extraordinary friendship and self-discovery.
Director: Annemarie Jacir
Script: Annemarie Jacir
Norwegian co-producer: Ape&Bjørn As - Ruben Thorkildsen
Main producer: Philistine Films
Amount of support: 550,000 Nok (approx. 59,700 Eur)
Project synopsis: Shadi has returned to his hometown Nasaret to help his father with hand-delivery of invitations to his sister´s wedding, a palestinian custom. As father and son spends their days together, walking from house to house, sore details of their relationship is brought to light and challenges their fragile and different lives.
"The Immersed Family"
Director: Maria Alché
Script: Maria Alché
Norwegian co-producer: 4 ½ Fiksjon As - Turid Øversveen
Main producer: Pasto - Barbara Fransisco
Amount of support: 550,000 Nok (approx. 59,700 Eur)
Project synopsis: A film about a typical Argentinian family, who attempts to tackle the secrets of the past. The film is told through the eyes of a middle aged women, and the story starts with her sisters death. »
- Sydney Levine
Berlin – Telefonica Studios, the film-tv production arm of telco giant Telefonica, already a key player in Spain and Argentina, is taking another step into Latin America teaming with Cactus Flower and Mono Films on the Colombia-shot romantic thriller “Orbita 9.”
Part of Movistar Plus, which takes in Spain’s biggest pay TV and Svod operation, Telefonica Studios has seen large success in Argentina, co-producing with El Deseo and Artgentina’s top broadcaster Telefe and K & S Films the country’s biggest-breakout titles: Oscar-shortlisted “Wild Tales,” a Sony Pictures Classics U.S. hit, and “The Clan,” Pablo Trapero’s 2015 Venice best director winner.
The anticipated debut of Hatem Khraiche, screenwriter of the Cactus Flower co-produced “The Hidden Face” and one ofbSpain’s most talked-up young talents, “Orbita 9” is totally Spanish. Its Colombia shoot, use of cash rebates and link up with Colombia’s top movie producer Dynamo, which provides services – as it did on “Narcos, »
- John Hopewell
Amy Schumer has become an absolute powerhouse in the entertainment industry. Not only is she one of the most successful stand up comedians working today, but she has also fostered an incredible television show, as well as a burgeoning film career. One of her upcoming film projects may have found a legendary actress to portray her mother . and she is absolutely perfect for the role. A brand new report from Variety seems to indicate that legendary actress Goldie Hawn is currently circling Mother/Daughter, with an eye on portraying Schumer.s titular mother. The mother of celebrities Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, and Wyatt Russell, Goldie Hawn has appeared in numerous iconic films such as Cactus Flower, Private Benjamin, Death Becomes Her, and Swing Shift. Despite Hawn.s long, illustrious career, if she signs on to Mother/Daughter , it will represent her first acting gig in a feature film since her »
Fox announced in October that it had scheduled “Mother/Daughter” for a Mother’s Day weekend release on May 12, 2017.
Schumer set up the project — centered on mother-daughter relationships — in May. Jonathan Levine (“50/50”) is directing from a script by Katie Dippold (“The Heat”). Chernin Entertainment and Feigco Entertainment are producing.
Schumer’s “Trainwreck” grossed $110 million domestically for Universal and raked in another $28 million internationally. Her original screenplay was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award.
Hawn won an Oscar for best supporting actress in 1968’s “Cactus Flower” while she was a cast member on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.” She received a best actress nomination for “Private Benjamin” and has credits on “Butterflies Are Free, »
- Dave McNary
Saoirse Ronan is going where few former child starlets have gone before her: back to the Oscars for first time since she was 13. The Irish actress was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in the period drama Brooklyn on Thursday, and she's considered by many critics to be a serious contender in a category that includes the likes of Brie Larson and Cate Blanchett. And while Ronan is only 21, this isn't her first trip to the rodeo. The actress shot to stardom back in 2007 for her turn as Briony Tallis in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's 2001 novel Atonement. »
- Mike Miller
The Doha Film Institute has announced the recipients of the Fall 2015 session of its grants program following the Dubai International Film Festival, where 15 of the Institute’s previous grantees, 4 of which are world premieres, were showcased. Thirty projects from 19 countries – comprising 16 feature-length narrative films, 10 feature documentaries and 4 short films – will receive funding for development, production or post-production.
The Fall session marks the 11th session of the grants program, which is dedicated to supporting new cinematic talent, with a focus on first- and second-time filmmakers.
Twenty-four of the projects are from the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, while 6 are from the rest of the world. For the first time, filmmakers from Chile, Peru and Spain will receive funding from the program.
Stories of displacement, physical or spiritual journeys, tales of family life, the power of nature and the importance of protecting the environment are highlighted in the selections this Fall.
Four projects from Qatar-based filmmakers were awarded grants – Hafiz Ali Abdullah’s "The Search for the Star Pearl," about a young pearl diver from Doha who discovers a map to the most valuable gem on Earth, and sets sail with three teenage friends in search of it; Hamida Al Kawari’s "To the Ends of the Earth" – the first Qatari feature documentary to receive a grant from the Institute – which follows a Qatari woman on an environmental expedition to Antarctica in search of hope; A.J. Al Thani’s "Kashta," a family drama about a father who takes his sons out into the desert to teach them about hunting and survival; and Hend Fakhroo’s "The Waiting Room," about an Arab and a Western family who find themselves sharing a hospital room.
Among the 30 projects selected for funding, 5 are from Morocco – Fyzal Boulifa’s "Pagan Magic," the story of a poor youngster working as a maid for a middle-class family; second-time grantee Uda Benyamina’s "Bastard," about a 15-year-old girl who lives with her mother in a rough Parisian suburb; Yakout Elhababi’s "Behind the Doors," which looks at family life and childhood set high in the Rif mountains of Morocco; Hind Bensari’s "Weight Throwers," a documentary look at the struggles of two young athletes as they train for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro; and "Behind The Wall," by Karima Zoubir, a short film set in a Casablanca slum.
Also featuring strongly are three animation projects – established filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour’s "Miss Camel," the story of a teenage Saudi camel who challenges the deep-rooted restrictions of her culture by travelling across the kingdom to compete in the Miss Camel beauty pageant in Doha; Mortada Gzar’s "Language," about a blind man on the streets of Baghdad who wakes up as a giant and reads the devastation of the city by touch; and Hafiz Ali Abdullah’s "The Search for the Star Pearl."
As in several previous sessions of the grants program, powerful projects from Argentina have also secured funding. Milagros Mumenthaler’s Swiss/Argentinian film "The Idea of a Lake" is about a photographer who undergoes a personal exploration of her past and the absence of her father while creating a book of her work, while Maximiliano Schonfeld’s "The Black Frost" is a drama set on a plantation where a pernicious black frost threatens to devastate the countryside until a mysterious woman arrives.
Continuing the environmental theme, Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel’s "When Two Worlds Collide" is the story of an indigenous Peruvian man and his people, and of the fate of one of our planet’s most valuable natural resources – the Amazon rainforest. The film, which has its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is the first-ever Peruvian recipient of a grant from the Institute.
Fatma Al Remaihi, CEO of the Doha Film Institute, said: “Our Fall grantees cover a broad range of subjects and represent some powerful new voices in cinema, especially from Qatar and North Africa with several projects supported from Morocco and Algeria.”
“Animated films are very popular in our region so it is very encouraging to see an acclaimed filmmaker like Haifaa Al Mansour turn her skills to this important genre; we support two other animated projects in this grants cycle as well.”
“Our grantees represent the core of the Doha Film Institute’s mandate to support emerging filmmakers and contribute to the development of the regional film industry. We have supported more than 255 films since the inception of the grants program and we continue to seek out projects with a strong directorial vision that are challenging, creative and thought-provoking. Our new round of grantees is no exception and I am delighted to welcome this outstanding crop of projects to our growing community of grantee alumni.”
Submissions for the next funding round open January 6 and close January 19, 2016. Funding is available to projects by filmmakers from around the world, with an emphasis on support for filmmakers from the Mena region. Certain categories of funding reserved for Mena and Qatari filmmakers.
The fund is primarily for first and second-time filmmakers. Post-production funding is available to established filmmakers from the Mena region.
For more information about eligibility and submissions, please visit
A full directory of past grant recipients is available to view at
The Doha Film Institute Grants Program funding recipients for the Fall 2015 session are:
Feature Narrative / Development
"Death Street" by Mohanad Hayal (Iraq)
Tariq, the sniper of Haifa Street in Baghdad, kills Ahmed on his wedding day. While Tariq prevents anyone from approaching the corpse in the street, an intimate and telling drama unfolds.
A teenage Saudi camel challenges the deep-rooted restrictions of her culture by traveling across the kingdom to compete in the Miss Camel beauty pageant in Doha.
"Pagan Magic" by Fyzal Boulifa (Morocco, France)
A young, poor and uneducated girl works as a maid for a middle-class family in contemporary Morocco. Her use of pagan rites to confront her entrapment and make sense of her world ultimately corrupt her.
"The Search for the Star Pearl" by Hafiz Ali Abdullah (Qatar)
Ali, a 17-year-old pearl diver from Doha, discovers a map to the Star Pearl of Abu Derya, the most valuable gem on Earth, and sets sail with three teenaged friends in search of the pearl. Along the way, they face mythological beasts that challenge their skills and friendship.
Feature Narrative / Production
A flood leaves three Cairenes homeless. As they journey across the city in search of shelter, they depend upon one another to survive and keep their dreams alive.
"Poisonous Roses" by Fawzi Saleh (Egypt)
The world has left nothing to Taheya apart from her brother Saqr. When he disappears, Taheya pursues him in desperation.
"The Return" by Meyar Al-Roumi (Syria, France)
A love story blossoms between Taysir and Lina, exiles from Syria, while they drive across their homeland to bury Taysir’s brother, a victim of the armed conflict.
"Till the Swallows Return" by Karim Moussaoui (Algeria, France)
This is the story of three characters who are a product of the conflicted Algeria of the 2000s. Their ideals shattered and their moral strength drained, each now faces a difficult life choice.
Feature Narrative / Post-production
"Bastard" by Uda Benyamina (Morocco, France)
Fifteen-year-old Dounia lives with her mother in a rough Parisian suburb, where she has been saddled with the nickname “bastard”.
"The Black Frost" by Maximiliano Schonfeld (Argentina)
Soon after a mysterious woman arrives on a plantation, a pernicious black frost ceases to devastate the countryside. Hope emerges. Might she might be a saviour?
"Blue Bicycle" by Ümit Köreken (Turkey)
Young Ali saves up all the money he can working at a tyre repair shop to buy a coveted blue bicycle. Meanwhile, at school, his love for his schoolmate Elif leads him to defend her dismissal as school president. A story of childish love, dreams and resistance.
Radical Islamists attack a village in Iraq where two young Yazidis are preparing for their marriage. At that moment, their lives become a nightmare.
"The Idea of a Lake" (note: previously titled Air Pocket) by Milagros Mumenthaler (Switzerland, Argentina)
Inés, a photographer, is creating a book of her work. Gradually, the process becomes a personal exploration of her past and the absence of her father, who was disappeared during the military dictatorship in Argentina.
"The Mimosas" by Oliver Laxe (Spain, Morocco, France)
In the Atlas Mountains in the past, a caravan searches for the path to take a Sufi master home to die. Among the party is Ahmed, a rascal who eventually becomes inspired to lead the caravan to its destination. Along the way, he is assisted by Shakib, a man sent from contemporary Morocco to guide Ahmed on his journey.
"Rey" (King) by Niles Atallah (Chile)
In 1860, a French lawyer dreamed of becoming the King of Patagonia – and he did just that. Or so it seemed.
"Suspension" by Ala Eddine Slim (Tunisia)
N is a candidate for an illegal crossing of the Mediterranean from Tunisia. A supernatural voyage, during which N will confront Nature and himself, begins.
Feature Documentary / Development
In Algeria, Ali and his sheep, bought for slaughter on Eid Al-Adha, are getting ready for the fight. Once the bets are in, the referee invites the owners into the ring…
"Behind the Doors" by Yakout Elhababi (Morocco)
High in the Rif mountains of Morocco, the people survive by growing kif. Beneath the shadow of the ambiguous legality of the crop, ‘Behind the Doors’ tells the story of a family through its children and their mirroring games.
In 1976, at the age of four, Marlene was put up for adoption in Lebanon and raised in France. In delving into her past, she discovers she is a survivor of the massacre at the Tal Al-Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp, and a family of survivors grows around her.
Feature Documentary / Production
While director Khalid Shamis watched television in his suburban London home, his father was plotting the overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi in his study. When the regime fell, Shamis sought answers about Libya under Gadaffi and his father’s role in its failed liberation.
"Ibrahim" by Lina Alabed (Jordan)
‘Ibrahim’ uncovers the long journey of the director’s father as a young man, when he was a secret member of Abu Nidal, a militant Palestinian revolutionary organisation.
"Searching for Janitou" by Mohamed El Amine hattou (Algeria)
A journey to unravel love in past and contemporary Algeria by exploring the unique phenomenon of a Bollywood film that swept the country in the 1980s.
"To the Ends of the Earth" by Hamida Al Kawari ( Qatar)
A Qatari woman travels on an environmental expedition to Antarctica in search of hope, before returning to the Gulf and finding unity and inspiration for positive change.
"Weight Throwers" by Hind Bensari (Morocco)
‘Weight Thowers’ follows the struggles of Azzedine and Youssef, disabled members of Morocco’s unemployed and disillusioned young generation, as they struggle to train for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Feature Documentary / Post-production
A group of Lebanese men re-enact the ordeals they experienced as detainees in Syria’s notorious Tadmor prison. An ode to the human will to survive.
A story of a man and a people, and of the fate of one of our planet’s most valuable natural resources – the Amazon rainforest.
Short Narrative / Production
"Behind the Wall" by Karima Zoubir (Morocco)
Nadia, a little girl, lives in a Casablanca slum that is surrounded by a wall. One day, the municipality begins to paint the wall – but why this sudden interest?
"Kashta" by A.J. Al Thani (Qatar)
A father takes his two sons out to the desert to learn about hunting and survival, but the results are not quite what he was expecting.
"Language" by Mortada Gzar (Iraq)
An old blind man walks throught the streets of Baghdad, then falls asleep while reading a book in Braille. When he wakes up, he finds he has become a giant and reads the devastation of the city by touch.
"The Waiting Room" by Hind Fakhroo (Qatar)
An Arab family and a Western family find themselves sharing a hospital room; the only thing that separates them is a curtain. »
- Sydney Levine
6 items from 2016
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