The Gulf Film Festival (GFF) has announced the three recipients of its first cycle of funding in its 2013 Enjaaz programme for short films.
Shivani Pandya, Managing Director of the Dubai International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival, elaborated on the need for a formal funding process for the Gulf’s emerging filmmakers: “Short film productions have been increasing in the last decade in both quantity and quality. By supporting GCC filmmakers with their short films we hope to see an increase in the number produced and give them with a platform to showcase their work. In addition provide filmmakers with opportunities to benefit from our partnerships around the world which are initiated to support the upcoming generation for young, creative and talented filmmakers.”
The 2013 recipients are diverse in treatment and subject matter: Ahmed Al-Mutawa's Faramel tells the story of Khan, a taxi driver whose life was just fine until back in 1994, when he was unlucky enough to pick up the angel of death as a client.
Former journalist Faiza Ambah's Mariam tells the story of a young Arab girl living in France during the debate on headscarves are banned in schools. Mariam's veiled friend’s campaign to keep their hijab, but Mariam is lost in her powerful crush on Sami, a popular boy who has started to return her affections.
Kurdish filmmaker Rezgar Hussein's Nasrin is the story of Farhad, a fatherless teenage thief with an anger problem. Farhad's life changes when, in the midst of being chased by an angry shop owner, he encounters a Syrian Kurdish refugee girl with an entirely unique personality.
In 2012, with Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Enjaaz selected seven short scripts from the Gulf region over one funding cycle which has already borne fruit; the short film Cotton, an Iraqi-UAE coproduction from director Luay Fadhil, was selected during last year’s funding cycle and premiered at GFF 2013.
The criteria for the Gulf Enjaaz programme stipulate that the director be of GCC nationality and that the completed script of less than 40 minutes in length be centered on the Arab world, with a detailed budget and production timeline. The next funding cycle for the programme closes on July 1, 2013.