Films from MENA spotlighted at Venice festival

Six regional films have been selected to participate in Final Cut in Venice, the Venice Production Bridge workshop providing post-production support and networking opportunities to films from Africa and the Arab world.
From 1 to 3 September 2018 the sixth edition of the workshop dedicated to the cinema industry of African countries and the Middle East takes place in Venice
From 1 to 3 September 2018 the sixth edition of the workshop dedicated to the cinema industry of African countries and the Middle East takes place in Venice

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The six project that are going to participate in Final Cut at the Venice Biennale film festival have been selected. Final Cut is a Venice Production Bridge organized workshop providing post-production support and networking opportunities to films from Africa and the Arab world. Among this year’s selections are films from Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Lesotho.

From Sep. 1-3, the workshop gives out prizes and financial assistance to six selected projects, while offering an opportunity for producers and directors to pitch their films to foreign buyers, distributors, producers and Venice festival programmers. The goal is to help the films complete post-production, explore co-production opportunities and access the international distribution market. The awards include $ 5,000 awarded to one of the Arab projects and an invitation to participate in the industry platform CineGouna offered by the El Gouna Film Festival

The six selected films this year include:

“Amussu” (“Movement”) (Morocco), Nadir Bouhmouch’s documentary about villagers who decide to fight back against the mining company whose ecological impact is destroying their community;

“Bi ‘Elem El Wossoul” (“Certified Mail”) (Egypt), the story of a suicidal young mother who’s forced to confront her depression on her own when her husband is imprisoned, by Hisham Saqr;

“Haifa Street” (Iraq-Qatar), Mohanad Hayal’s feature about a sniper who kills a man on a street in Baghdad, and refuses to let anyone claim his body; and

“Mother, I am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You” (Lesotho-Germany), an experimental docufiction by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese;

“Untamed” (South Africa-Zambia), a documentary exploration of the dying days of a celebrated South African poet, by Simon Wood.

“Banc d’Attente” (“The Waiting Bench”) (France-Chad-Germany), Suhaib Gasmelbari’s portrait of four elderly filmmakers and lifelong friends who travel across Sudan with a mobile cinema, bringing their love of film to their countrymen;

Established in 2013 to provide completion funds for African films, the program expanded in 2014 to include projects from the Middle East. Venice film festival organizers have added the opportunity for filmmakers from the region to have one-on-one meetings with the Venice Production Bridge’s Gap-Financing Market. Financing that would increase opportunities for African and Arab filmmakers to bring their projects to the global market.

Sudanese director Hajooj Kuka's debut film “aKasha” (“The Roundup”), will world premiere in Venice Critics’ Week, after winning last year's Final Cut’s first Biennale Prize for best film in post-production.

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