Int’l Emerging Film Talent Sets Multiple Events During Cannes Fest

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The Intl. Emerging Film Talent Assn. (IEFTA) returns to the Cannes Festival for the 12th year with film programs, panels, awards and cocktail receptions.

IEFTA, with the U.N. Refugee Agency and its Telling the Real Story program, will present the fifth edition of Refugee Voices in Film beginning at noon on May 21 and May 22, both at Palais 1.

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For the fourth year, IEFTA also will sponsor a cash award of $10,536 to one of the 32 docs-in-progress from eight presenting partners participating in the Marché’s Docs-in-Progress Showcases at the May 24 Cannes Docs program headed by Pierre-Alexis Chevit.

Third, IEFTA, in conjunction with Arab Cinema Centre and MAD Solutions, will present the Critics Awards for Arab Films ceremony, including a special honor to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the Carlton Beach.

The annual Refugee Voices in Film honors filmmakers many of whom are refugees themselves who document people enduring irregular migration, whether from violence, famine or political oppression.

This year’s works focus on the experience of women: “The Journey,” directed by Pantera; “Zahra & Nura’s Story,” directed by Menna Hamdy; “Haweya’s Story,” Moges Tafesse; “Muna’s Story,” Ragnhild Ek; and “Maymun’s Story,” Neil Bell.

Each screening will be followed by a roundtable about how people can get involved and help create change. At screenings both days, audience members can participate through QR codes, which encourages involvement; there is also the option to attend the virtual screenings aired simultaneously.

Attendance is limited to individuals with a Marché du Film or festival badge.

“Storytelling has always proven to be a powerful medium to shifts hearts and minds, and we are keen to learn how to harness this and direct it towards positive change,” said Anadil Hossain, UNHCR principal communications adviser.

Cannes Docs’ annual showcases are primarily designed for decision-makers, such as festival programmers and sales agents, looking for titles. The projects are generally in search of post-production funding or general gap financing, and sometimes still open to co-production opportunities. Each showcase consists of four projects presented in the form of a pitch and a 10-minute excerpt of the rough cut.

This year’s event will showcase docus from New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Scandinavia, Japan, Chile, and the training program known as Circle Women Doc Accelerator.

“We at Cannes Docs-Marché du Film are grateful for our ongoing partnership with IEFTA, for the seventh in a row,” Chevit said. “This year, the collaboration comprises two presentations of the Refugee Voices in Film, the €10,000 cash IEFTA Award for one of the competing docs-in-progress, and an IEFTA-hosted Happy Hour on May 21.”

IEFTA president Marco Orsini (in photo) added: “We are honored to collaborate again this year with the U.N. Refugee Agency and the Marché Du Film’s Cannes Docs on multiple screenings highlighting the plight of refugees. Now more than ever, this program needs to be seen, discussed, shared and brought up in discussions beyond the people it directly impacts.”

Lastly, in conjunction with the Arab Cinema Centre and MAD Solutions (Egypt), IEFTA will co-host a cocktail reception May 22 at the Carlton Beach Club to celebrate the work of UNHCR. This event is being held in conjunction with the Critics Awards for Arab Films ceremony, created by the Arab Cinema Center to bring together critics from all over the world to select the best Arab films.

Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab, co-founders of MAD Solutions & Arab Cinema Center, said: “IEFTA is one of the key supporters of Arab cinema and we are proud that they are part of this year’s ceremony of the sixth edition of the Critics Awards for Arab Films.”

Central to the IEFTA mandate is discovering and developing film talent from emerging regions and connecting them with established members of the entertainment community and to foster relationships that are mentoring and educational.

IEFTA also announced that two of its recent talent alumni have been selected for the Cannes festival’s mentorship and funding platforms. Ahmed Fawzi-Saleh’s “Hamlet From the Slums” is among 15 projects chosen for L’Atelier co-production forum, and Morad Mostafa’s “Aisha Can’t Fly Away Anymore” is one of 10 films selected for La Fabrique Cinema program.

“This year is especially rewarding to see several of our alumni engaging the film world independently at this year’s festival,” Orsini said. “They represent the Horn of Africa and the MENA Region in documentary and narrative feature projects. We hope you take the time to consider their work.”

The Cannes Film Festival will run May 17-28.

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