For the second year in a row Sørfond has been present at the Dubai film Connection (DFC) at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) to invite one project to come to the Sørfond Pitching Forum which takes place every year during the Films from the South-festival in November.
The arrangement at the DFC is part of Sørfond's new partnership with selected film markets around the world, where representatives from Sørfond selects one project that receives an invitation to the Sørfond Pitching Forum, all costs covered.
The Dubai Film Connection celebrated its 10th anniversary in December, and there were, as always, many strong projects present. However, for the Sørfond jury it was the Jordanian project The Alleys, a dark comedy, by director Basel Ghandour and producer Rula Nasser which immediately stood out, and which has been invited to come to Oslo in November.
“In all honesty, during the closing ceremony of Dubai Film connections, we were the third project to be announced for receiving a cash prize of the Front row entertainment, and as Basel and I stepped down the stage, I whispered to Basel: “I wish that we could get the Sørfond prize.“ I was truly shocked when they announced that our project would be given the pitching opportunity in November,“ says Nasser.
Neither the director or the producer have been involved in Sørfond projects before, but both are important figures in the Jordanian film scene. Ghandour co-wrote and produced Theeb, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, and Nasser has been involved in many films touring the international film festivals.
“To me this opportunity is exactly what making films is about: Travelling with your own story to new places and cultures, expanding your partners and audience, testing the originality of the story, and finding passionate people to work with you in taking the story to the big screen. And this is what pitching the project at the forum in November puts on the table. I’ve never co-produced any film with Norwegian partners, and none of my films were ever released in Norwary, so for me it’s an opportunity to find more hearts and hands that are willing to work with us,“ Nasser explains.
About The Alleys
In a heavily populated East Amman neighborhood policed by gossip and violence, Ali, a hustling taxi driver, puts up an image of a career man with a white-collar job fooling family, friends, and Lana, with whom he has a forbidden relationship. They succeed in hiding their romance from society's judgmental eye, until Lana’s mother, Aseel, receives an incriminating video of the young couple being intimate.
Aseel, who lives off her good reputation, forbids Lana from seeing Ali and discreetly hires the ruthless neighborhood gangster, Abaas, to punish Ali. In doing so Abaas finds himself rubbing shoulders with Ali’s friend and reformed convict Hamada. Their lives intertwine and collide not only with each other but many other inhabitant of the neighborhood.