The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is pleased to announce the selection of 28 new film projects to receive grants from its 2017 General Grants program for Cinema, totaling to $493,000.
This year, AFAC received 325 applications in total, ranging from feature length fiction and documentary projects to shorts and experimental.
Due to the considerable amount of applications received this year, AFAC held two separate jurors’ committees: a committee for short film projects and another for feature-length film projects. The 2017 Cinema jurors’ committees comprised experts and film professionals from different backgrounds and nationalities. The short films jury included Palestinian - Jordanian filmmaker Yahya Abdallah, Lebanese filmmaker Sabine El Chamaa and Egyptian Coordinator of film programs and cultural art projects Ali El Adawi. The second jury comprised Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed, Moroccan director, writer and comic book creator Hicham Lasri, and Tunisian director and screenwriter Kaouther Ben Hania.
Having read and evaluated the projects individually for over a month, the short films Jurors’ met at AFAC office on Monday, November 13 while the meeting for feature-length projects was held on Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25. The 3 day-long discussions tapped into each project and analyzed the creative, financial and relevant aspects. By the end of the jury meetings, 28 projects were chosen from 325 applications received in 2017 during AFAC’s open call for applications.
Commenting on the selection process and winning projects, the jury issued the following statement:
“We have a common feeling that an extra cognitive experience inhabits us today after an intense journey into the spiritual and aesthetic world of the cinematic works and cinematic texts hailing from Arab countries. The projects presented to AFAC’s Cinema grant 2017 almost converge in their insistence on addressing the psychological, political, and historical challenges that is endemic to the individual and to cultural society. In this sense, the cultural transcends the political and refutes its compromises; the humane and the aesthetical are above all authority and placed first in line.
While the original cinematic language of several projects was able to explore new frontiers and illuminate new knowledge, other initiatives came with predetermined patterns, limiting their prowess for discovery.
As a jury, we share the confidence that free cinematic language has a rare power in discovering the mechanisms of existence and its beauty, and the ambiguity of the present moment in relation to the past and the future. We have sought to give priority to a cinema that tries to free itself and to free the being…
The sheer number of applications in relation to available funds put the jury in painful moments of relinquishing the opportunity for projects that it reserves love and appreciation for.
We recognize that AFAC’s grant today provides an additional lung for filmmakers trying out freedom outside of set styles and the authority of the market which compels us to prod AFAC to launch more than one call per year.”
The next Cinema call for submissions opens on May 1st, 2018
The 2017 Cinema winning projects
A Gaza Weekend by Basil Khalil
A Kasha by Hajooj Kuka
A Son by Mehdi Barsaoui
Amussu by Nadir Bouhmouch
Antibodies by Assem Hendawi
Bottles by Yassine El Idrissi
Displaced in Heaven by Khaled Jarrar
Divine Wind by Merzak Allouache
How Grandmother Became a Chair by Nicolas Fattouh
If It Were Not For Their Presence, We Would Have Thought the War Never Happened by Ghassan Halwani
In Vitro by Larissa Sansour
Mad Crossings by Ayman Nahle
Musical Apocalypse by Jacques Debs
On that Day by Mohanad Yaqubi
Quadrum by Fadi Yeni Turk
Saudade by Roy Dib
Searching for Kikhia by Jihan Kikhia
Strange Cities are Familiar by Saeed Taji Farouky
Tawaseef by Ali Shiran
The bridge by Hala Lotfy
The Return by Meyar Al-Roumi
The River by Ghassan Salhab
The World We Knew by Kawthar Younis
Weldi by Mohammed Ben Attia
What Comes Around by Reem Saleh
Wooden Rifle by Alfoz Tanjour
You Will Die At Twenty by Amjad Abu Al Ala
Yusra and Dorothy by Salim Abu Jabal