Budding Arabic filmmakers on Monday hailed Enjaaz, the post-production fund supported by Dubai International Film Festival, as life-saving.
"Their funds were like an incubator for my film. Without the support of Enjaaz we wouldn't have been able to get into post-production or show my film to viewers this year," said Aseel Mansour (right), a Jordanian director. His film, Uncle Nashaat, is one of the 14 films backed by Enjaaz and is being screened at this year's festival.
"You can make the film. But the big question remains, what do you do with a film after that? It also arranges for a network for you to show your film. By just being here I have met so many industry insiders," he added about his maiden effort.
Moroccan director Kamal Al Mahouti, another candidate who is an Enjaaz beneficiary this year, says that such funding programmes create platforms to voice their point of view. His film is still in its post-production stage.
"There are American films, Bollywood films and now it's time for Arabic voices to be heard. These funding programmes allow us to voice our point of view and that's important," said Al Mahouti. His production My Brother delves into the inner turmoil of an artist caught between two countries. For Jordanian filmmaker Yahya Al Abdullah, the Enjaaz funds helped him raise the quality of his debut work.
"The sound is very important in my film because there are many silences. And I knew that creating that atmosphere would cost a lot. But you also knew that after you make a film, you have already exhausted your budget. That's where Enjaaz came into my picture," said Al Abdullah. The Last Friday, featuring actor Ali Sulaiman, is a tale of a cab driver who falls upon hard times when economic recession strikes.
"Enjaaz has made my dreams come true of making a film that I believed in." This point was echoed by Masoud Amr Allah Al Ali, Diff's artistic director (pictured above with the filmmakers).
"Our role is to discover talent from this region and give them the platform to become known. We help them wrap their films and give it shape that meets international standards," said Al Ali. A total of 20 films have received Enjaaz support this year.