Variety, Sept. 2012


Variety, Sept. 2012
Creative spring for femme helmers - Entertainment News, Venice Features, Media - Variety
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Posted: Sun., Sep. 2, 2012, 4:00am PT
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Creative spring for femme helmers
Venice Daily Spotlight 2012: Arab Fest Preview / Arab Cinema
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Arab women represent part of the critical mass
of femme helmers in Venice this year. Tunisian
Hinde Boujemaa's docu, "It Was Better
Tomorrow," scores a special event platform. Two
pics compete in Horizons: "Wadjda," a coming­
of­ager from Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia's
first female feature director; and Algerian helmer
Djamila Sahraoui's "Yema," the tale of a mother
(Sahraoui) mourning the death of her soldier son
who was probably killed by his Islamist brother.
"The Inheritance," the directing debut of
Palestinian thesp Hiam Abbas, screens in Venice
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Venice topper Alberto Barbera says, "One
interesting phenomenon concerning the changes
occurring in Arab cinema is the unexpected role
played by the new generation of Arab women
directors. Because the female works are
sometimes more courageous and innovative,
capable of dealing with sensitive issues like
terrorism in Algeria or the female condition in
Saudi Arabia, they are surprising and full of
promise for the future."
The rise of a diverse generation of Arab
filmmakers, women and men alike, comes about
in part because of funding and training initiatives
sponsored by festivals in the Middle East
(particularly Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai), the
U.S. (Sundance, Tribeca) and Europe (Berlin's
World Cinema Fund, Cannes' Atelier, Torino's
FilmLab, Rome's New Cinema Network) plus
support from film commissions, film schools such
as the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts, and
the Lebanon­based Arab Fund for Arts and
"I think they (the Gulf festivals) helped some
films ­­ those that took a lot of political as well as
artistic risks ­­ get made," says Toronto fest
programmer Rasha Salti.
Many of these films were well received by critics
overseas and won fest accolades, from
Annemarie Jacir's "Salt of This Sea" (2008),
which Kino Lorber released in the U.S., to
Palestinian­American Cherien Dabis' "Amreeka,"
which bowed to critical acclaim at Sundance in
2009 and won the Fipresci in Cannes among other kudos, and cumed $2.34
Creative spring for femme helmers - Entertainment News, Venice Features, Media - Variety
million worldwide, according to Rentrak.
So, what might audiences look forward to seeing in the near future? For
starters, Lebanese­American Susan Youssef's Gaza­set tragic romance
"Habibi" is touring North America through the Global Film Initiative. And
Youssef is now developing "Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf," a coming­of­
ager about a Muslim teen in Arkansas.
Jacir's soph effort, "When I Saw You," a 1960s­set dramedy about a boy
who runs away from a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, will world preem
in Toronto.
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Another eagerly anticipated second feature is "May in Summer" from Dabis.
Now in post, the Amman­set romantic comedy follows the secrets, lies and
loves of three Arab­American sisters and their strong­willed, single mother.
Further on the horizon, Palestinian Najwa Najjar ("Pomegranates and
Myrrh") is prepping "Eyes of a Thief," a thriller based on a true story, while
Lebanon's Dima El­Horr ("Every Day Is a Holiday") is readying romantic
comedy "Ideal Love."
Variety Home Entertainment Hall Of Fame Dinner
December 3, 2012
Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA
Future of Film Summit Produced by Variety &
Digital Media Wire
December 5, 2012
Sofitel Hotel, Los Angeles, CA
Egypt, the Arab country with the largest and most developed film industry, will soon see three
debuts by women from the independent sector.
Content Protection Summit Produced by Variety &
December 6, 2012
Hilton Los Angeles, Universal City, CA
Maggie Morgan is cutting "Asham," six intertwining stories set against the backdrop of a restless
Cairo before the recent revolution. Hala Lotfy is in post on "Coming Forth by Day," a drama about a
mother and daughter taking care of the family's ailing patriarch. And Ayten Amin is prepping "69
Messaha Square," which she describes as "a human comedy about facing death."
Venice Daily Spotlight 2012: Arab Fest Preview / Arab Cinema Creative spring for femme helmers | Region's sprocket operas tangled in their own dramas | Half a
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