We have received 80 applications from 16 countries.
Here are the 12 projects that made the finalists' shortlist:

. Christophe Nassif, Club 534 (Lebanon)
. Dania Bdeir, In White (Lebanon)
. Deema Dabis, The Sufi Circus (Jordan/Palestine) 
. Derya Durmaz, The Bus To Amerika (Turkey)
. Elif Refig, Good Luck (Turkey)
. Ismahane Lahmar, I'll Go To Hell (Tunisia)
. Mina Keshavarz, Soora (Iran)
. Mohammad Shawky Hassan, Lose Weight Now, Ask Me How (Egypt)
. Sabrina Chemloul, The Bastard Girl (Algeria)
. Tazeen Bari, Letters From Death Row (Pakistan)
. Yassine El Idrissi, Saffron's Land (Morocco)
. Zain Duraie, The Sea Needs To Heave (Jordan)

Final selection will be announced on August 1st. 



ANNA ROSE HOLMER is the 2017 Independent Spirit Award Someone to Watch winner and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015. Her critically acclaimed narrative directorial debut, THE FITS (Venice 2015, Sundance 2016), was released with Oscilloscope Laboratories in 2016 and nominated for Breakthrough Director at the 2016 Gotham Awards as well Best First Featureat the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards. She recently produced Mike Plunkett’s SALERO (IDFA 2015) and Jody Lee Lipes’s BALLET 422 (Tribeca 2014).


SHRUTI GANGULY is a filmmaker based in New York City. She has worked with James Franco and his Rabbit Bandini Productions for the past seven years, and has made several feature films that have gone to Sundance, Venice, Berlin, Telluride and AFI. She recently produced Through You, a narrative VR told through dance, which premiered at Sundance 2017. Shruti was a founding partner at Fictionless, a production company that focuses on branded content, narratives, documentaries, and TV series. Prior to Fictionless, she ran the video departments and developed the video strategy at NYLON, MTV, and Conde Nast (crafting the CLIO-winning 73 Questions series). She is currently producing a feature with Keanu Reeves, and a TV series called Girly with Refinery29 and EP Rashida Jones.

Shruti was a member of Obama’s ECCO committee of entertainment leaders last year and is on the Creative Council for Emily's List. Shruti hails from India, by way of Oman. Shruti received her Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, and was the first graduate of NYU's dual MFA/MBA program at Tisch and Stern.


KARIN CHIEN is a producer, educator and distributor committed to championing independent voices. Karin is the recipient of the Independent Spirit Producer’s Award, and the producer of ten independent feature films, including STONES IN THE SUN (2012), JACK AND DIANE (2012), CIRCUMSTANCE (2011), THE EXPLODING GIRL (2009), THE MOTEL (2005) and ROBOT STORIES (2002).

Her films have won over 100 festival awards, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Films Festivals, been nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards and received distribution in over 30 countries. Karin is the co-creator of Cinema on the Edge, a new global film series celebrating uncensored cinema from mainland China.

Karin is the founder/president of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent cinema from mainland China. Karin is also the creator of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Fellowship, a mentoring program for mid-career Asian American media makers. Karin is based in Los Angeles and teaches at Temple University’s Los Angeles film & media program.


MATT HARVEY (distribution consultant) works in acquisitions and production for Sony Pictures Classics.

Recent films he has been involved in acquiring include Paul Verhoeven's ELLE, Meera Menon's EQUITY, Lorene Scafaria's THE MEDDLER, Marielle Heller's DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, Damian Szifron's WILD TALES, and Damien Chazelle's WHIPLASH.


BRADD SAUNDERS (script consultant) is a screenwriter, screenwriting teacher, film director, playwright, published novelist, short story writer, and freelance journalist with an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His movie, The Lounge People, played in theaters internationally and on Comedy Central, and the Starz Network, and he currently has screenplays optioned and in development on two continents. His play, Detective Nicky Carruthers is Dead, garnered a national playwriting award from the University of Arkansas and was produced at the Powerhouse Theater, in Los Angeles. The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Annual Ball, was a semi-finalist at the Inner City Cultural Center’s theater competition in Los Angeles, and was produced at the Missing Children Theater in New York. He was a screenwriting teacher, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California for twenty-three years and has worked online as a mentor and in workshop settings for Cinephilia Productions. 
Currently, he is a screenwriting teacher and mentor to students throughout America at the Film Connection/Film Institute in Los Angeles, California.


Established in 1972 to address the under representation and misrepresentation of women in the media industry, Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films by and about women. The organization provides services to both users and makers of film, with a special emphasis on supporting work by women of color. Women Make Movies facilitates the development of feminist media through an internationally recognized Distribution Service and a Production Assistance Program.


DARINE HOTAIT (script consultant) is a writer, film director and the founder/director of Cinephilia Productions. Her award winning short films can be seen on BBC, Sundance TV, AMC Networks & Shorts International. She is a published playwright and short story writer. Her work appeared in various publications in print and online such as The Seventh Wave in NY, Blind Spot and Angle Mort in Paris, The Siren Journal in London, Rusted Radishes in Beirut, as well as in curated art exhibitions in Berlin and London. She has mentored over 40 screenwriting masterclasses and workshops at international film festivals and institutions such as the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York, Med Film Festival in Rome, Arab Film festival in Rotterdam, Dubai international Writers’ Center in UAE, among others.
Darine served as a jury member at film festivals in Sydney, Rotterdam and New York. 
She holds an MFA in screenwriting and film directing from the Art Center College of Design in California. She resides in New York City.