IEFTA at Cannes Docs with 3 'Spotlighted' Projects

IEFTA at Cannes Docs with 3 'Spotlighted' Projects

No Objection Certificate, directed by renowned  Kazi Krishnakali Islam

Three films sponsored by Monaco-based International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA) are selected for the ‘Spotlighted Projects’ section of Cannes Docs (23-25 June). 

The non-governmental organization IEFTA was founded to discover and develop film talent from emerging regions. The NGO stresses how it connects filmmakers with established industry professionals, engages cultural diversity and fosters relationships that are “mentoring, inspiring and educational.”

Gross National Happiness reunites directing pair Arun Bhattarai (Bhutan) and Hungarian Dorottya Zurbó, whose The Next Guardian was selected for First Appearance Competition at IDFA 2017. The new film is produced by Bhattarai for Sound Pictures (Bhutan) and Noémi Veronika Szakonyi (Match Frame Productions, Hungary), and is described as a satirical road movie that takes us through a mosaic of stories exploring the desires of a society with a specific national identity created by the Happiness Ministry of Bhutan, a country that has been closed-off for centuries. The producers are looking for development and production funding, co-producers and pre-sales for the €238,200 production, slated for a September 2022 release.

No Objection Certificate, directed by renowned Bagladeshi singer Kazi Krishnakali Islam is a story of Bangladeshi single mothers who are struggling to claim their natural guardianship over their daughters, at the same time lifting a veil on the patriarchal attitudes in the country’s society. The debut feature doc is budgeted at $78,812 with a mooted release date of December 2021. The film is produced by Tareq Ahmed of Alo Chaya Opera. 


In the Egyptian Captains of Za’atari, produced and directed by Ali El Arabi (Ambient Light), Syrian teenagers Mahmoud and Fawzi are two friends living in a refugee camp in Jordan. Like many young boys in the camp, they dream of becoming professional football players while facing the difficult reality of their lives. When a world renowned sports academy visits the camp, both have a chance to make this dream come true. The debut doc has a stated budget of $1.1 million, of which 90% is in place. With a release date of May 2021, the producer/director is looking to secure a sales agent during Cannes Docs.

For the second year, IEFTA will sponsor a cash award of €10,000 to one of the 32 Docs-in-Progress from 8 countries participating in the Marché’s Docs-in-Progress Showcases at Cannes Docs. 

“IEFTA is proud to support documentary filmmakers through this cash prize and our partnership with the Marché du Film and Cannes Doc,” comments IEFTA President Marco Orsini. “Especially during these times, we hope this award will encourage others in the industry to support documentary filmmakers in their own regions.”

Other Docs-in-Progress awards are the Impact Award, in partnership with Nordisk Panorama, that provides a 2-hour consultation on the film’s impact and outreach strategy, the Cineli Digital Award (endowed with a professional DCP offered by Cineli Digital, Paris, France) and the VOSTAO Award, that offers French and/or English subtitles offered by VOSTAO, France.