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DFI Students make their International Debut at the Prestigious 64th Cannes Film Festival

May 08, 2011

Doha, Qatar, 8 May 2011 – After gaining both local and regional recognition at the Doha Tribeca and Gulf Film Festivals, six DFI student-filmmakers are set to benefit from a prime viewing position within the prestigious Short Film Corner at Cannes 2011.

The Short Film Corner activity further marks DFI’s ongoing commitment to promoting Arab filmmaking, culture and storytelling to international audiences. Each of the DFI films screening at the Short Film Corner were produced in Doha as part of DFI’s 2010 Short Film Program, a five month educational program that provided aspiring filmmakers intensive training and mentoring across various stages of filmmaking – including scriptwriting, directing, cinematography and working with actors.

The films include Demi-Plie by Faisal Al Thani, Donia by Amir Ghonim, Kanary by Sophia Al Maria, Land of Pearls by Mohammed Al-Ibrahim, Super. Full. by Niam Etany, and Um Al Sebian by Waffa-Al Saffar.

The Short Film Corner will provide DFI’s filmmakers with the opportunity to showcase their work to international audiences, buyers, programmers and distributors. The event will also give participants access to industry roundtables, themed conferences and workshops, which are designed specifically to enhance their knowledge and professional expertise within the international marketplace.

Director of Demi-Plie, Faisal Al Thani, said he was overjoyed at the prospect of having his film screened before international audiences. Fresh of his special jury mention at the 2011 Gulf Film Festival, Al Thani sees Cannes 2011 as another golden opportunity to increase the presence of Arab Film within the international industry. “It’s so great that we are being given the chance to take Qatari stories and perspectives to the global-stage. We have such a rich culture with so many different voices, and I feel honoured to be part of generation bringing those voices to the world”. Qatari film Champs Elysees Je T’aime by Mehdi Ali Ali was screened at the corner in Cannes 2010 generating interest in films from Qatar and signaling the development of a local film culture.

In addition, DFI has nominated five Arab producers to participate in the Festival’s annual Producers Network, which hosts around 500 producers from around the world in a series of meetings created to stimulate international co-production.

The Producers Network will give DFI’s five nominees a chance to develop their projects further, building a bridge between the world of short and feature films and connecting them with key players in the international film business including sales agents, distributors, and film financiers. Participants will also be able to attend roundtables, industry speed dating sessions, and seminars on key aspects of the film industry including International Sales, Pitching and Marketing.

The five producers selected by DFI to participate in the Producers Network are: Buthina Khoury (Palestine); Imed Marzouk (Tunisia); Mounes Khammar (Algeria) Sameh Zoabi (Palestine); and Talal Al-Muhanna (Koweit).

These initiatives mark an increasing emphasis within DFI towards promoting young student-filmmakers at regional and international levels and giving them the assistance and training needed to enable them access to regional and international platforms, so that their films can gain visibility amongst broader audiences.

Scandar Copti, Head of DFI Education, explained that the Institute is committed to providing holistic training across the full range of filmmaking stages. “This includes helping students to submit their films to regional and international film festivals, and imparting knowledge about the complete industry process – from script to screen and beyond. This is vital to building a self-sustaining film industry that can exist and continue to grow on its own.”

For more information on the Cannes Film Festival, the DFI’s films/producers or DFI, please visit www.dohafilminstitute.com.