Entries open for Shasha screenwriting competition

Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) on Monday called for entries for the 5th annual Shasha screenwriting competition designed to identify, develop and launch the career of talented filmmakers.

The competition is open to UAE nationals, or UAE residents of over five years, citizens from other countries in the Middle East or individuals with Middle Eastern or North African parentage. Scripts can be submitted in English or Arabic and applicants must be comfortable pitching their projects to an industry panel in either English or Arabic.

In 2010, the Film Commission announced joint winners of the Shasha Grant, Dima Hamdan and Kasem Kharsa, splitting the $100,000 for their films 'The Kidnap' and 'Shelter'.

Abu Dhabi Film Commission Director, David Shepheard, said: "We are excited to see the 2011 entries for the Shasha Grant competition, as every year we have so many talented teams and individuals submit unique and enthralling screenplays."

He added: "UAE and Middle East boast a large number of writers and directors who have stories that are regionally specific, and they enter competitions like Shasha to showcase their work and hopefully receive the development funds and the recognition they need to start their projects. We are anticipating a large number of diverse and exceptional entries, and are looking forward to developing these scripts alongside the influential and experienced panels of producers and financiers."

10 scripts will be shortlisted on 1st August 2011 and six finalists will be announced on 4th September 2011.
The Film Commission will invite the six Shasha Grant finalists to Abu Dhabi this coming October to attend the pitching sessions which involve each finalist being paired with an industry executive to create and refine pitch strategies for their scripts.

During the final pitching session each finalist will pitch their script to a selection jury comprised of industry professionals for evaluation. The winning project will receive the $100,000 development grant and ongoing production support from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission.

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