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CANNES WATCH: Scholarships aim to aid Arab women directors

CANNES, France (AP) — A new scholarship program announced at the Cannes Film Festival hopes to help more Arab women break into filmmaking.

The Hani Farsi Graduate Scholarship Fund will pay for three aspiring filmmakers to study directing at the University of California at Los Angeles’ School of Theater, Film and Television.

The first recipients are scheduled to begin master’s degree studies in September through the program, a partnership between UCLA and the Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation.

Film producer Hani Farsi, who set up the charitable foundation named for his Saudi philanthropist father, said Tuesday that the program was the “first step in a call to action, which we hope will lead to a positive change for women in the film industry and in my part of the world.”

The relative lack of female directors in global cinema is a hot topic at Cannes, where just two of the 19 features competing for the Palme d’Or are by women.

–By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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