My Sweet Pepper Land

Recipients from the first cycle of Abu Dhabi Film Festival’s SANAD Fund for 2013 have been announced at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Sixteen projects, out of a total of 112 applications, were chosen to receive the coveted financial grants.

Every year, SANAD Fund awards a total of US$500,000 in financial grants to Arab filmmakers for funding either the development or post-production stage of their film projects. Post-production projects may receive up to $60,000 of funding and development projects may receive up to $20,000 of funding.

The first group of SANAD 2013 winners are:

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

My Sweet Pepper Land by director Hiner Saleem which received a SANAD development grant in 2012 and was just awarded an additional post-production 2013 grant, was featured in the Un Certain Regard section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

In the Sands of Babylon directed by Mohammed Jabarah Al Daradji, which just received a post-production 2013 grant is a sequel to Son of Babylon, an ADFF supported film which held its world premiere during the 2009 ADFF. It later achieved international recognition and received a number of international film awards.

Theeb, by director Naji Abu Nowar, and documentary film Pirates of Salé, by directors Merieme Addou and Rosa Rogers, were both awarded development grants in 2011, and have now been awarded post-production grants in 2013.

The SANAD Fund is an initiative created by the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in order to support Arab filmmakers, as the ADFF aims to be the 'Home of Arabic Cinema'. SANAD, the Arabic word for ‘support’, is dedicated to supporting and raising the standard of Arabic cinema.

Ali Al Jabri, ADFF Director, says, “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. 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.”

Submissions for the second and final cycle of SANAD fund grants 2013 will be open from June 1 – July 1 2013. For more information on SANAD Fund visit

– Staff Writer

Image courtesy of ADFF

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