K’naan to Make Feature Directorial Debut ‘The Poet’

knaanThe Sundance Institute today announced the winners of its 2015 Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. Each winning filmmaker will receive a cash award of $10,000, attendance at the Sundance Film Festival for targeted industry and creative meetings, eligibility to participate in one of Sundance Institute’s 24 annual artist-development labs and ongoing creative and strategic support from Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program.

Among the winning directors is New York-based Somali rapper K’naan , who’s no stranger to the Sundance Institute (he’s an alumnus of the Institute’s Screenwriters and Directors Labs).

K’naan’s project, for which he won a Global Filmmaking Award, which he will direct (also his directorial debut), is titled “The Poet.” Logline reads: “In war-torn Somalia, an artistic orphan named Maano undertakes a dangerous journey to Mogadishu in order to find his long-lost sister.”

Joining K’naan in the winner’s circle are: Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, whose project is titled “Luxembourg” (Ukraine); “Be Safe I Love You” (Saudi Arabia) by Haifaa Al Mansour; and Oskar Sulowski, “Rosebuds” (Poland/Germany).

Former winners include: Ariel Kleiman (Australia) for “Partisan” (in competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival); Talya Lavie (Israel) for “Zero Motivation” (2014 Tribeca Film Festival, Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Nora Ephron Prize); Jonas Carpignano (Italy) for “Mediterranea” (in post-production); Shonali Bose (India) for “Margarita with a Straw” (premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival); and Seng Tat Liew (Malaysia) for “The Men Who Saved the World” (premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival).

The Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award presented by AJ+ marks the first collaboration between the two organizations.

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