The Dubai Film Market, the business counterpart of the Dubai International Film Festival, has again partnered with Image Nation Abu Dhabi on the Enjaaz production support programme.
Enjaaz provides post-production funding for filmmakers of Arab nationality or origin (there’s a list of qualifying nationalities on DIFF’s FAQ page here). This is the fourth year running for the arrangement, which awards AED 250,000 AED to five filmmakers for their short film projects – the stated aim is “to support local and regional filmmaking talent to bring compelling Gulf films to wider audiences” and the prizes will go to “talented filmmakers who have submitted compelling storytelling projects that will enrich and entertain audiences both in the region and beyond”. Which sounds broad enough.
Shivani Pandya, DIFF’s Managing Director said: “The partnership [with Image Nation] was designed to increase the number of films from the region that can educate, inspire, influence and entertain whilst at the same time offer a window to issues, cultures and destinations unknown to a wider international audience.”
Since its launch in 2009, Enjaaz has supported more than 120 Arab films, both features and shorts – mainly the latter. Past Enjaaz recipients have gone on to international acclaim on the festival circuit, especially short films like Haider Rashid’s It’s About to Rain (2013 – still above); Baghdad Messi (2012) and The Bad Hunter (2013) by Sahim Omar Kalifa; and 2013’s Cotton by Luay Fadhil (memorably described in the DIFF programme as “a story about a girl and her experiences while sponsoring a sheep”).