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Abu Dhabi Film Festival Announces First Recipients of the US$500,000 SANAD Fund 2013

Grant recipients from the first cycle of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival's SANAD Fund for 2013 have been announced at the Cannes Film Festival with 16 projects chosen to receive grants, out of the 112 who applied.  SANAD, which means 'support' in Arabic, awards a total of US$500,000 in grants each year to Arab filmmakers during either the development or post-production phase of their film projects.  The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) is powered by twofour54 and the SANAD fund is an integral part of its support for Arab filmmaking.

SANAD Winners, First Cycle 2013:

Post-Production - Narrative

  • My Sweet Pepper Land (Iraq, France, Germany, UAE), directed by Hiner Saleem
  • Theeb  (Jordan, UAE, Qatar), directed by Naji Abu Nowar
  • In the Sands of Babylon (Iraq, UK, Netherlands, UAE), directed by Mohammed Jabarah Al Daradji
  • Fevers (Morocco, France, UAE), directed by Hicham Ayouch

Post-Production - Documentary

  • Whispers of the Cities (Iraq, UAE), directed by Kasim Abid
  • Pirates of Salé (Morocco, France, UK, UAE), directed by Merieme Addou, Rosa Rogers
  • The Camel of the Mill (Tunisia, UAE), directed by Hamza Ouni

Development - Narrative

  • Nawara (Egypt), directed by Hala Khalil
  • No One There(Egypt), directed by Ahmed Magdy
  • A Dog's Tail   (Jordan), directed by Rami Yasin
  • Beirut Solo  (Lebanon), directed by Sabah Haider
  • The Passerby  (Palestine), directed by Kamal Al Jafari
  • Casting (Palestine), directed by Mohammed Abou Nasser and Ahmad Abou Nasser
  • The Day I Lost my Shadow (Syria), directed by Soudade Kaadan

Development - Documentary

  • Baba and the Colonel  (Libya), directed by Khalid Shamis
  • Looking for Essam Abdullah (Egypt), directed by Yasser Naeim

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), also announced that one of the latest film projects to benefit from a SANAD grant, 'My Sweet Pepper Land' by directorHiner Saleem, will be featured in the Un Certain Regard section of this year's Cannes Film Festival. This narrative film received a SANAD development grant in 2012, and an additional post-production grant in this first cycle of 2013 awards.

Another example of a SANAD grantee is director Mohammed Jabarah Al Daradji whose film 'In the Sands of Babylon,' benefited from a post-production grant in the announcement. 'In the Sands of Babylon' was made as a follow-up to Mohammed's previous ADFF-supported film, 'Son of Babylon', whichheld its world premiere during the 2009 edition of the Festival and later achieved worldwide acclaim with awards at several major international film festivals. 

Two other films which benefitted from a post-production grant also previously received a SANAD grant for development in 2011, demonstrating SANAD's commitment to choose projects with real potential and support filmmakers from the early stages of preparation until completion of the film. These films are the documentary 'Pirates of Salé', by directors Merieme Addou and Rosa Rogers, and the narrative film 'Theeb', an incredibly mature and stylish debut film by director Naji Abu Nowar.  
A further narrative film selected for a post-production grant is Hicham Ayouch's film 'Fevers', a sensitive and profound fresco based on the life of Arab immigrants in the concrete suburbia of a city in South of France.
Documentary films selected for post-production grants are 'Pirates of Salé'; 'The Whisper of the Cities' by director Kasim Abid; and 'The Camel of the Mill' by director Hamza Ouni. All three documentaries are characterised by their choice of impactful subject matter and all three feature compelling portraits of forgotten individuals.
Noura Al Kaabi, Chief Executive Officer of twofour54 said: "SANAD's aim to seek out bold and remarkable projects from both new and established filmmakers reflects twofour54's mandate to support talented Arabs.  We look forward to seeing the film projects which follow from this awards announcement and to showcasing the best of the films internationally as an example of the world-class creativity coming from this region. "

Ali Al Jabri, ADFF Director, said: "The international film community continues to embrace the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the SANAD fund as respected platforms for high quality, original and imaginative films from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Meanwhile, our region's talented filmmakers continue to task the SANAD Fund's selection committee with an ever-increasing number of quality projects to consider."

Al Jabri continued: "It's important to note that support for the grantees doesn't just stop at financing. The SANAD fund is dedicated to providing year round creative and industry advice to the grantees."

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival was established in 2007 as the 'Home of Arab Cinema'.  ADFF contributes to Abu Dhabi being positioned as a creative hub by focusing on high quality, Arab cinema and by supporting and nurturing burgeoning local talent and filmmaking through initiatives such as its SANAD fund.

Established in 2010, the SANAD fund aims to raise the standard of Arabic cinema. Each post-production grantee can receive up to $60,000 of funding, while development grantees can receive up to $20,000 of funding. Submissions for the second and final cycle of SANAD fund grants 2013 can be made between June 1 - July 1 2013.

For more information regarding SANAD visit the website at

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