Established in April 2010, SANAD (a synonym for “support” or “help” in Arabic) provides grants to both upcoming and established Arab filmmakers in two categories: Development funds of up to US$20,000 and post-production funds of up to US$60,000 per project. The film world responded with great enthusiasm to the launch of SANAD, with dozens of submissions being made in the first few weeks alone.
During the selection process, the SANAD team was excited to discover a fascinating new trend in Arab film: A large number of filmmakers from all over the region are developing experimental, daring films. Describing 2010 as the 'Year of the Independents’, the team noted that there was a marked trend towards artistic innovation and radical departures from the conventional in style, language and approach.
Young directors are not the only ones taking thematic and stylistic risks; seasoned directors are also straying from the beaten path. Broken narrative structures, off-kilter characters and unconventional image compositions are used to pose serious questions about the status quo. Even though political engagement remains mostly abstract and indirect, these films are bound to surprise viewers.