Arab Uprising at Cannes Film Festival 2011

Cannes, France

This year’s Cannes Film Festival saw film financing opportunities blossom for the Middle East with a new film fund being set up in Jordan and the Doha Film Institute (DFI) calling for the entire region to band together when making films rather than each country taking a singular national approach.

The Jordanian initiative will inject 500,000 Jordanian dinars into the funding of narratives, documentaries and shorts. To qualify, 60% of dialogue needs to be in Arabic and a Jordanian national must have a producing role.

The DFI plans to introduce 25 new grants for Middle Eastern countries in order to consolidate the Arabic film world as a force to be reckoned with. The institute is reaching out to Northern African countries as well, with Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco set to benefit from these grants alongside Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan.

Further attention was directed to the Middle East by Festival organizers who invited Egypt as their first in focus “guest country” and showed a documentary of the Tunisian mutiny marking Tunisia’s first premiering of a film at Cannes.

In addition to its grants, the DFI showcased six Qatari films at the Short Film Corner, nominated five Arab producers to the Cannes Producers Network and hosted a Middle East and Northern Africa industry gathering. With such a forceful presence in Cannes, it won’t be long before the Middle East is a key player in global cinema.

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