Bullets & Bread by Egyptian director Mohamed Hammad, produced by Kholoud Saad and Mohamed Hefzy (Film Clinic, Egypt), has been announced as one of the 12 winners of the Red Sea Lodge Award for an Arab Project.
Initiated by the Red Sea International Film Festival, the Lodge offers grants in two categories: the Red Sea Lodge Award for a Saudi Project and the Red Sea Lodge Award for an Arab Project, with each category offering a total of $500,000 to six winners.
According to the brief posted by the festival, "Bullets & Bread is about Youssef, a conscript serving his compulsory military service on the Egyptian eastern desert border and who dreams of becoming a writer. Awad is a dangerous bandit from one of those tribes roaming that remote desert region, who dreams of providing a better life for his family in Cairo. Their paths were not meant to cross, but a true friendship will grow between them."
Mohamed Hammad is best known for Withered Green (2016), his debut feature as a director, which he also wrote. The film's world premiere was at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, where it was nominated for the Golden Leopard - Filmmakers of the Present.
Withered Green won the Horus Award (Best Actress, Best Director) and 2nd Production Award at the Cairo National Festival for Egyptian Cinema (2018); the Muhr Award for Best Director at the Dubai International Film Festival (2016); and the Golden Palm Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Mexico International Film Festival (2017).
Prior to Withered Green, Hammad wrote, produced, and directed the short film Central (2008). In 2010, he produced and directed the short film Pale Red, which took part in many international festivals, receiving several awards.
Hammad was chosen as a jury member at the Cairo International Film Festival (2016) and was a jury member at the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts (2014).
(Photo: still from Withered Green)
Among the other winners of the Red Sea Lodge for Arab Projects were Scheherazade Goes Silent, directed by Amira Diab; Inchalla A Boy, directed by Amjad Alrasheed; The Arabic Interpreter, directed by Ali Kareem; The Basement Notes, directed by Hadi Ghandour; and I Am Arzé, directed by Mira Shaib.
The festival also granted six films the Red Sea Lodge Production Award for a Saudi Project. They include: Basma, written by Fatima Al-Banawi and directed by Ali Alsumayin; Practicing Polygamy, directed by Malak Qouta; Four Acts of Disruption, directed by Hussam AlHulwah; When The Star Goes Down, directed by Mohammed Salman; Sharshaf, directed by Hind Alfahhad; and Hejj to Disney, directed by Maha Al-Saati.
In parallel, the jury selected director Al-Saati’s Hejj to Disney for the TIFF Filmmaker Lab talent development scheme, and for development programmes held by the Malmo Arab Film Festival (Sweden) and El-Gouna Film Festival (Egypt). Saudi director Al-Saati was chosen to participate in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association residency program in 2021.
The jury choosing projects for the Red Sea Lodge: Script & Feature lab consisted of Russian producer and actress Nadia Turincev, German director, writer, and production manager Meinolf Zurhorst, and Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah.
The grants are part of the Red Sea International Film Festival, whose inaugural audition was scheduled to take place between 12 and 21 March 2020, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organisers then revealed that the inaugural audition of the festival will take place in 2021.
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