Tunisian drama A Full Moon Night is one winner of the top three $25,000 prizes announced at the close of the Dubai International Film Festivals' co-production market, Dubai Film Connection (DFC) - one of the most productive industry initiatives at DIFF since it was launched in 2007, aiming to help Arab films find funding.
Filmmakers are awarded prize money for production, with three awards worth $25,000 each for projects in development; a single $6,500 award for a filmmaker with an original writing style; a new Film Clinic award worth $10,000 for a first feature; and a new Screen Institute documentary award worth $15,000 for a work-in-progress.
Not only do filmmakers have access to the DFC, there's also the Enjaaz initiative, which supports post-production and distribution, with grants, and the Filmart marketplace.
Directed by Fares Naanaa, Tunisian drama A Full Moon Night centers on a couple whose marriage disintegrates after the death of their daughter.
The other 2 films to receive the top $25,000 prizes include Yahya Alabdallah's Me, Myself And Murdoch (about a Palestinian man who wakes from a coma speaking only Hebrew), and Batata, from Lebanon’s Noura Kevorkian, which is about Syrian agricultural workers in Lebanon.
Other award winners:
- Farid Bentoumi’s You Are Algeria, exploring issues of immigrant identity through the tale of an Algerian ski-ing champion, won Arte’s $6,500 international prize.
- The International Organisation of La Francophonie Award, also worth $6,500, went to Egyptian Mohamed Hammad’s revolution-set tale Kilo 56.
- The Film Clinic/DIFF Debut Feature Award went to Sabah Haider’s Beirut Solo, about a pair of star-crossed immigrant lovers in the Lebanese capital.
- The $10,000 Front Row/KNCC Award went to Raed Andoni’s Ghost Hunting, described as a hybrid work exploring the impact of Israeli occupation on Palestinians.
“Some 31 features have been completed over the past six years, another 13 are in production and eight films are in DIFF’s official selection this year… you can see from the results the DFC really does have an impact,” affirmed DFC and Film Forum director Jane Williams.