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DFI-funded film lead claims ‘Best Actress’ award at Cannes

Doha Film Institute (DFI) has now supported more than 750 films from 75 countries, with grants cycles in both autumn and spring.

The Doha Film Institute co-funded project “About Dry Grasses” has secured high acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival with Turkish actress Merve Dizdar, the lead of the film, clinching the prestigious ‘Best Actress’ award on Saturday.

The film is a recent production from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, a well-received director in the festival circuit.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the Best Actress award win for Merve Dizdar for her performance in the DFI co-financed project ‘About Dry Grasses’ by acclaimed Turkish Auteur and Qumra Master Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Congrats to Merve and the entire film team,” stated DFI in an Instagram post.

In “About Dry Grasses,” Dizdar brings to life the character of a former activist, who is striving to rebuild her life following a devastating leg amputation resulting from a bombing incident.

Her portrayal of a woman who continues to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to political activism, despite personal adversities, has captivated audiences and critics alike.

The narrative, set in a remote Anatolian village, centres around her character’s interactions with two cynical village schoolteachers.

The complexities of their relationship are meticulously explored in Ceylan’s trademark emotional dialogues, overall making a profound commentary on teacher-pupil relations and the origins of political engagement.

“I portrayed someone fighting for her life, having overcome numerous challenges,” Dizdar, said about her award-winning role.

Furthermore, she mentioned how her personal experiences and understanding of the socio-cultural context in the region greatly contributed to her portrayal of the character.

The 36-year-old actress has been a fixture in films and television since the early 2010s, following her studies in acting and initial work in theatre. Her repertoire includes popular TV series in Turkey like “Wounded Love”.

Ceylan, who previously bagged the Palme d’Or for “Winter Sleep”, adds another feather to his cap with this lauded project, enhancing his celebrated standing in the Cannes Film Festival.

The success of “About Dry Grasses” further underscores the valuable contribution of DFI in fostering global cinema collaborations.

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