Shasha Grant 2010, Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Dima Hamdan, Kasam Kharsa, David Shepheard, ADACH, Circle Conference 2010.
Two filmmakers will share the coveted$100,000 Shasha Grant that is awarded by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) at the end of its annual Circle Conference to aspiring filmmakers in the Middle East. This year’s winners are Dima Hamdan (The Kidnap) and Kasem Kharsa (Shelter). ADFC will continue to work closely with Hamdan and Kharsa to see their projects through development and production.
Hamdan and Kharsa were chosen from among six finalists who came to the Circle Conference to pitch their projects to a jury of industry leaders. Hamdan’s film, The Kidnap, is the story of a Jordanian police chief whose life is thrown apart when his pregnant wife is kidnapped. He embarks on a secret mission to find her, and uncovers a dark secret that threatens his family and professional future.
Kharsa’s film, Shelter, is the story of an amnesiac Iraqi refugee struggling to survive in Beirut. When he is arrested and falsely accused of war crimes, he is forced to piece together a violent past, and a gypsy boy he orphaned who is now hunting him down.
ADFC also presented a special prize to finalists Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf for their project Damascenes: a trip to the 37º South Market at the Melbourne International Film Festival as part of a partnership between the film commission and the MIFF 37º South Market.
The Circle Conference, which was held from October 13-15 brought more than 50 industry leaders together. It included a keynote from Tarak Ben Ammar, and panel discussions featuring filmmakers, broadcasters, producers and production executives from the Middle East, Europe, the U.S., Australia and Asia.
Additional highlights were a landmark panel on Women In Film in the Middle East chaired by Rotana Studios President Dr. Hala Sarhan, and Education Day, which attracted more than 200 students from 14 universities across the UAE.
Abu Dhabi Film Commission director David Shepheard said the conference provided “a tremendous opportunity for high-level dialogue among the people who are shaping the future of the global film and television business”.
“By bringing their insights and global perspectives to Abu Dhabi, and by mentoring aspiring filmmakers from the region, they’ve played a big role in helping us to stimulate a new level of entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi and across the Middle East.”
BroadcastPro Middle East will carry a special feature on The Circle Conference in the November issue with special comments from keynote speaker Tarak Ben Ammar and other key players who participated at the event.