LOS ANGELES, Dec 21, (RTRS): Haifaa Al Mansour, considered the fi rst female director to come from cloistered Saudi Arabia and known for groundbreaking female empowerment pic “Wadjda,” is developing animation feature “Miss Camel,” with fi – nancing from the Doha Film Insitute. “Miss Camel” turns on “a teenage Saudi camel who challenges the deeprooted restrictions of her culture by travelling across the kingdom to compete in the Miss Camel beauty pageant in Doha,” according to the DFI.
Al Mansour, who in 2013 made waves with “Wadjda,” about a 10-year-old Saudi girl who wants to ride a bicycle even though it is forbidden for her in her country, is currently reportedly in pre-prod on ambitious English-language Mary Shelley drama
“A Storm In Our Stars,” with Douglas Booth and Elle Fanning, produced by HanWay Films On Monday the DFI announced recipients of the Fall 2015 session of its grants program for projects in various stages.
Below is the complete list: Feature Narrative / Development
“Death Street,” by Mohanad Hayal (Iraq) Tariq, the sniper of Haifa Street in Baghdad, kills Ahmed on his wedding day. While Tariq prevents anyone from approaching the corpse in the street, an intimate and telling drama unfolds.
“Miss Camel,” by Haifaa Al Mansour (Saudia Arabia) A teenaged Saudi camel challenges the deep-rooted restrictions of her culture by travelling across the kingdom to compete in the Miss Camel beauty pageant in Doha.
“Pagan Magic,” by Fyzal Boulifa (Morocco, France) A young, poor and uneducated girl works as a maid for a middle-class family in contemporary Morocco. Her use of pagan rites to confront her entrapment and make sense of her world ultimately corrupt her.
“The Search for the Star Pearl,” by Hafi z Ali Abdullah (Qatar) Ali, a 17-year-old pearl diver from Doha, discovers a map to the Star Pearl of Abu Derya, the most valuable gem on Earth, and sets sail with three teenaged friends in search of the pearl. Along the way, they face mythological beasts that challenge their skills and friendship. Feature Narrative / Production
“Cactus Flower,” by Hala Elkoussy (Egypt) A fl ood leaves three Cairenes homeless. As they journey across the city in search of shelter, they depend upon one another to survive and keep their dreams alive.
“Poisonous Roses,” by Fawzi Saleh (Egypt) The world has left nothing to Taheya apart from her brother Saqr. When he disappears, Taheya pursues him in desperation.
“The Return,” by Meyar Al-Roumi (Syria, France) A love story blossoms between Taysir and Lina, exiles from Syria, while they drive across their homeland to bury Taysir’s brother, a victim of the armed confl ict.
“Till the Swallows Return,” by Karim Moussaoui (Algeria, France) This is the story of three characters who are a product of the confl icted Algeria of the 2000s. Their ideals shattered and their moral strength drained, each now faces a diffi cult life choice. Feature Narrative / Post-production
“Bastard” by Uda Benyamina (Morocco, France) Fifteen-year-old Dounia lives with her mother in a rough Parisian suburb, where she has been saddled with the nickname “bastard”.
“The Black Frost,” by Maximiliano Schonfeld (Argentina) Soon after a mysterious woman arrives on a plantation, a pernicious black frost ceases to devastate the countryside. Hope emerges. Might she might be a saviour?
“Blue Bicycle,” by Umit Koreken (Turkey) Young Ali saves up all the money he can working at a tyre repair shop to buy a coveted blue bicycle. Meanwhile, at school, his love for his schoolmate Elif leads him to defend her dismissal as school president. A story of childish love, dreams and resistance.
“The Dark Wind,” by Hussein Hassan (Iraq) Radical Islamists attack a village in Iraq where two young Yazidis are preparing for their marriage. At that moment, their lives become a nightmare.
“The Idea of a Lake” (previously titled Air Pocket), by Milagros Mumenthaler (Switzerland, Argentina) Ines, a photographer, is creating a book of her work. Gradually, the process becomes a personal exploration of her past and the absence of her father, who was disappeared during the military dictatorship in Argentina.
“The Mimosas,” by Oliver Laxe (Spain, Morocco, France) In the Atlas Mountains in the past, a caravan searches for the path to take a Sufi master home to die. Among the party is Ahmed, a rascal who eventually becomes inspired to lead the caravan to its destination. Along the way, he is assisted by Shakib, a man sent from contemporary Morocco to guide Ahmed on his journey.
“Rey” (King), by Niles Atallah (Chile) In 1860, a French lawyer dreamed of becoming the King of Patagonia – and he did just that. Or so it seemed.
“Suspension,” by Ala Eddine Slim (Tunisia) N is a candidate for an illegal crossing of the Mediterranean from Tunisia. A supernatural voyage, during which N will confront Nature and himself, begins. Feature Documentary / Development
“Agnus Dei,” by Karim Sayad (Algeria, Switzerland) In Algeria, Ali and his sheep, bought for slaughter on Eid Al-Adha, are getting ready for the fi ght. Once the bets are in, the referee invites the owners into the ring…
“Behind the Doors,” by Yakout Elhababi (Morocco) High in the Rif mountains of Morocco, the people survive by growing kif. Beneath the shadow of the ambiguous legality of the crop, ‘Behind the Doors’ tells the story of a family through its children and their mirroring games.
“The Great Family,” by Eliane Raheb (Lebanon) In 1976, at the age of four, Marlene was put up for adoption in Lebanon and raised in France. In delving into her past, she discovers she is a survivor of the massacre at the Tal Al- Zaatar Palestinian refugee camp, and a family of survivors grows around her. Feature Documentary / Production
“The Colonel’s Stray Dogs,” by Khalid Shamis (Libya, South Africa) While director Khalid Shamis watched television in his suburban London home, his father was plotting the overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi in his study. When the regime fell, Shamis sought answers about Libya under Gadaffi and his father’s role in its failed liberation.
“Ibrahim,” by Lina Alabed (Jordan) ‘Ibrahim’ uncovers the long journey of the director’s father as a young man, when he was a secret member of Abu Nidal, a militant Palestinian revolutionary organisation.
“Searching for Janitou,” by Mohamed El Amine hattou (Algeria) A journey to unravel love in past and contemporary Algeria by exploring the unique phenomenon of a Bollywood fi lm that swept the country in the 1980s.
“To the Ends of the Earth,” by Hamida Al Kawari (Qatar) A Qatari woman travels on an environmental expedition to Antarctica in search of hope, before returning to the Gulf and fi nding unity and inspiration for positive change.
“Weight Throwers,” by Hind Bensari (Morocco) ‘Weight Thowers’ follows the struggles of Azzedine and Youssef, disabled members of Morocco’s unemployed and disillusioned young generation, as they struggle to train for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Feature Documentary / Post-production
“Tadmor,” by Lokman Slim, Monika Borgmann (Lebanon) A group of Lebanese men re-enact the ordeals they experienced as detainees in Syria’s notorious Tadmor prison. An ode to the human will to survive.
“When Two Worlds Collide,” by Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel (Peru) A story of a man and a people, and of the fate of one of our planet’s most valuable natural resources – the Amazon rainforest. Short Narrative / Production “Behind the Wall,” by Karima Zoubir (Morocco)