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Friday, January 28, 2022

Ten DFI-supported films head to Venice Film Festival


DFI backed projects are set to be screened in one of the biggest international festivals next month.

The international Venice Film Festival has chosen ten films supported by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) to screen at its 78th annual festival this year.

“The diverse line up includes six exciting works from the Arab world including the first ever Yemeni film selected for the official shorts film competition,” DFI stated.

“We are incredibly proud to showcase ten films backed by DFI at the Venice Film Festival this year, underlining our commitment to support emerging Arab talent and filmmakers from across the globe,” said Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of DFI.

“The selection includes thought-provoking works by new voices in global cinema and established names that offer fresh perspectives on life that reflect human hopes, aspirations and challenges,” Alremaihi added.

“Our funding programmes are dedicated to supporting emerging talent, captivating storytelling and unique narrative styles, and there is no doubt that these films are among the most anticipated projects to emerge this year from the region and beyond.”

Three of the ten DFI supported films will be competing in the festival’s Orizzonti segment: Atlantide (Italy, France, Qatar), White Building (Cambodia, France, China, Qatar), and Kiro Russo’s El Gran Movimiento (Bolivia, France, Switzerland, Qatar).

Atlantide is a 2020 Spring Grants recipient by the Italian director, Yuri Ancarani. The movie follows three young men who find an interest in small fast boats and drive the audience through a summer of dreams and nightmares.

Another 2020 Spring Grants recipient, White Building by the talented Kavich Neang, narrates the life changing moments of a young man from Phnom Penh, from the demolition of his lifelong home to societal pressures.

Set in contemporary Bolivia, 2020 Fall Grant recipient Kiro Russo’s El Gran Movimiento follows main character “Elder” and his companions who reach La Paz capital after a week-long walk seeking to be reinstated at the local mine.

Among the ten selected films is a Yemeni film, titled ‘Don’t Get Too Comfortable’ by director Shaima Al Tamimi, which will be premiering in the Orizzonti Shorts Film Competition.

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The film “contemplates the continuous pattern of movement amongst Yemenis in the diaspora and highlights the collective feeling of statelessness and belonging by migrants through introspective letters written to her grandfather,” DFI said.

The 2021 Venice Film Festival launched this year a new sidebar programme, Orizzonti Extra, which features two DFI-supported works, including the opening film Land of Dreams (USA, Germany, Qatar) by Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari and 2018 Fall Grants recipient, Mounia Akl’s Costa Brava, Lebanon (Lebanon, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Qatar) 

Co-financed by DFI, Land of Dreams is a “political satire set in the near future where America has closed its borders and become more insular than ever,” according to IMDb, an online database on films. 

Costa Brava narrates a family’s escape from the toxic pollution of Beirut, moving to the utopic mountain home they built. However, the government starts a landfill just outside their fence.

On the list is a documentary by Diana El Jeiroudi, called Republic of Silence (Syria, Germany, France, Qatar).

“The feature documentary presents a first-person account of El Jeiroudi’s journey from Syria to Berlin; exploring how cinema saved her life.”

The Final Cut will feature another two DFI backed projects Under The Fig Trees (Tunisia, Switzerland, Qatar, France) by 2021 Spring Grants 2021 recipient Erige Sehiri, and The Mother of All Lies (Morocco, France, Qatar) by 2019 Spring Grants recipient Asmae El Moudir. 

Meanwhile, Syrian screenwriter, director and 2019 Spring Grants recipient, Ameer Fakher Eldin, will be competing in Gionarte Degli Autori, an independent sidebar at the Festival with The Stranger (Syria, Qatar) that follows Adnan, a young man returning home against the will of his father after unsuccessfully studying medicine in the former Soviet Union.

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