Intl. Emerging Film Talent Returns to Cannes to Show Spotlight on Underrepresented Regions

The Intl. Emerging Film Talent Assn. returns to Cannes for the 13th year with a series of events to showcase new faces from underrepresented regions. The lineup will include screenings of films centering on refugees, a cash award for a documentary and spotlights on Arab and Sudanese cinema.

For the sixth year, IEFTA is collaborating with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at the Marche du Film. The program presents filmmakers — a number of them refugees themselves — who are documenting the experiences of those forced to flee from violence, famine or political oppression.

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The UN agency and IEFTA provide filmmaking tools and training to those affected. Refugees speak out about loss and desperation, but also resilience and hope.

“Refugee Voices in Films” this year features films from the Sudan Workshop focusing on the Horn of Africa. The Sudan Workshop is part of UNHCR’s developmental program with refugee filmmakers.

This year’s screening and Q&A will be held on May 20 starting at 11:30 a.m., at Palais J.

The screening includes several works making their market premieres at Cannes. They include “The Future Depends on Us,” from UNHCR; and three films made by refugees during the Sudan Workshop: “The Unknown,” “Metamorphosis” and “Mosaic.” Also screening are “Sara,” directed by Eritrean filmmaker Nahom Abraham, and “Portrait of a Stranger,” directed by photographer/storyteller Platon and produced by Anadil Hossain in collaboration with UNHCR.

Dana Hughes, deputy head of global communications for UNHCR, said, “We’re proud to support talented filmmakers living in exile, who may have been forced to leave everything behind, but whose creativity and drive to tell their own stories remains.”

For the fifth year, IEFTA will sponsor a cash award of €10,000 given to one of the 32 documentaries from eight presenting partners participating in the Marché’s Docs-in-Progress Showcases. They will be part of the Cannes Docs program headed by Pierre-Alexis Chevit, head of Cannes Docs.

Cannes Docs partners with a number of festivals and organizations to showcase docs nearing finalization. The projects are often 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 via a pitch and a 10-minute excerpt of the rough cut. These showcases are designed for decision-makers, such as festival programmers and sales agents, looking for new titles.

This year’s participants come from Canada, Chile, Italy, Scandinavia, Scotland and Spain, plus the Docs by the Sea Asian Filmmakers and the Circle Women Doc Accelerator.

“We’re very happy to be rolling out all of this together once again this year and looking forward to many more years of cooperation,” says head of Cannes Docs Pierre-Alexis Chevit said of IEFTA.

In conjunction with the Arab Cinema Centre, and MAD Solutions (Egypt), IEFTA will co-host a cocktail reception at the Plage de Palmes May 20 to celebrate the work of UNHCR. This event is being held in conjunction with the Critics Awards for Arab Films ceremony, an initiative created by the Arab Cinema Center, which brings together film critics from around the world to honor Arab films every year.

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

IEFTA founding board member Marco Orsini concluded about his group’s partnerships with the UN and Marche: “Now more than ever, this program needs to be seen, discussed, shared and brought up in discussions beyond the people it directly impacts.” As for MAD and ACC, “We see several of our alumni engaging the film world independently at this year’s festival. We wish them luck and we hope attendees take the time to consider their work.”

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