Waiting for P O Box, a short film co-produced by the Dubai International Film Festival, has earned Syria its first ever in-competition berth at the Cannes Film Festival. The 65th edition of Cannes is being hosted from May 16- 27, 2012. The 15-minute film, a short about recognition, independence and originality and a commentary on […]
Waiting for P O Box, a short film co-produced by the Dubai International Film Festival, has earned Syria its first ever in-competition berth at the Cannes Film Festival. The 65th edition of Cannes is being hosted from May 16- 27, 2012.
The 15-minute film, a short about recognition, independence and originality and a commentary on the challenges of filmmaking in an emerging region, is one of 10 works selected from 4,500 international submissions to the Cannes Short Film Competition.
Directed by Syrias Bassam Chekhes and produced by Jordans Rula Nasser of DIFF award-winning feature films The Last Friday and Transit Cities, the film is also supported by the Netherlands Film Fund and is one of the most recent beneficiaries of the Dubai Film Markets Enjaaz post-production support programme for Arab filmmakers. The Dubai Film Market is the festivals comprehensive business hub, which covers the script to screen arc with components dedicated to development, co-production, post-production and acquisitions.
The film follows Mustafa and Ayoub, two Arab filmmakers struggling to make their film. Hindered by the local mismanaged funding entities, they are forced to resort to foreign funds, where they are challenged by the lack of meaningful translation. Waiting for P O Box, which will make its global debut atCannes, stars Yazan Al Rousan and Rami Al Nihawi.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, artistic director of the Dubai International Film Festival, said the unorthodox and brave film captured the challenges, peculiarities and rewards of filmmaking in the region.
Whether it is documenting the struggle to make a film or the struggle to survive from one day to the next, films and film festivals at their best remind us that we all have a shared journey, that none of us succeeds independently, Al Ali said.
The team behind Waiting for P O Box has worked hard to reach this pinnacle of global cinema, and we at the Dubai International Film are proud to play even a small role in taking this film to the world.
Producer-director Bassam Chekhes said: One aspiration of the film is to create an honest, productive and dynamic relationship between the Arab funds and the filmmakers, a relationship that is based on transparency and direct involvement, and for me the way the Dubai International Film Festival responds to these challenges is a landmark.
Enjaaz, the Dubai Film Markets post-production support programme, supports up to 15 Arab documentary and fiction feature films annually, offering up to US$100,000 per film. The initiative has supported more than 35 Arab and Arab-origin films since its launch in 2009, including numerous features that have gone on to reap global acclaim, such as Egyptian inner city drama Cairo Exit, UAE heritage biopic Hamama, Iraqi feature Leaving Baghdad, Palestinian love story Habibi; Algerian drama Ouardia Once Had Sons, Lebanese drama Heels of War and Jordans The Last Friday. Other 2012 recipients will be announced this summer.
Cannes 2012 is also host to other Arab films and talent: post-revolutionary Egyptian feature film After the Battle by seasoned director Yousry Nasrallah (The Gate of the Sun, Summer Thefts) is among the 22 titles vying for the festivals top prize, the Palme dOr, alongside global auteurs Abbas Kiarostami and Ken Loach; Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch (Whatever Lola Wants)s Gods Horses, a feature about poor children manipulated into becoming terrorists, is screening in the festivals Un Certain Regard section, alongside 7 Days in Havana, an anthology directed by seven international directors including Palestines Elia Suleiman, returning to Cannes after the award-winning Divine Intervention in 2002.
A short film from Lebanon Behind Me Olive Trees, directed by Pascale Abou Jamra and produced by ALBA will also screen as part of the Cannes Cinefondation Selection, a selection of 15 films culled from more than 300 films schools around the world. Abou Jamras film is the first Lebanese selection to be chosen for Cinefondation.
Films from the Arab world are also represented in the Directors Fortnight, one of the independent events organized during the festival. Algerian director Merzak Allouaches Le Repenti, which follows a young jihadist who surrenders and receives amnesty, will make its world premiere there.
Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas is also serving on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival this year. Abbas, whose extensive filmography includes DIFF films Paradise Now, Amreeka and Pomegranates and Myrrh as well as directing, joins global A-listers including fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, DIFF alumni director Alexander Payne and actress Diane Kruger, and actors Ewan McGregor and Nanni Moretti (president).
The Dubai International Film Festivals participation inCannesincludes a series of events in and around its dedicated pavilion in the Village International.
DIFF will be held from December 9-16, 2012. Submissions to the festivals in-competition and out-of-competition segments will open later this month.