DIFF lines up top industry experts for consultancy sessions
Dec 06,2010 - 03:50 PM
For the past couple of years, the Dubai Film Market has offered consultancy sessions with experts in various aspects of the industry. This year’s scheme has been formalised and extended to all Film Market delegates and is already proving popular.
“From day one, we’ve had people coming up to make appointments, from experienced filmmakers looking for distributors or sales agents to people new to the filmmaking process,” the Dubai Film Market consultant Vida Rizq says.
This year’s experts come from a range of backgrounds. Julie Bergeron is founding manager of the Producers Network, Marché du Film at Cannes and manager of International Projects at Ventana Sur, the Latin American Film Market in Buenos Aires. Farida Fdani has 25 years’ experience in script development, production, marketing, sales and distribution. Viola Shafik is an independent filmmaker, curator and researcher on Arab cinema and advising on developing ideas.
Mary Davies is film acquisitions consultant for Japanese pay-TV channel Cinefil-Imagica and oversees the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s industry services as well as facilitating sales at this year’s London Film Festival. Producer and veteran international sales director (TF1, Canal+, Pathé) Pascal Diot is working closely to match sales agents and distributors with the more than 200 titles on offer at the Filmmart.
Colin Stanfield, now based in Dubai, has been executive director of the Nantucket Film Festival in Massachusetts for the past three years and has experience in managing film support agencies and international co-production. “The international film circuit is a tight-knit community,” he says. “I can speak to the issues of producing internationally as well as some of the US-specific questions” such as casting American performers.
Different experts will offer different skills. Stanfield, for instance, highlights the growing trend for self-distribution. “This is a hot topic right now, especially in the US indie world,” he says. “You can’t go to an American festival these days without hearing about a filmmaker who’s eschewed the usual routes, selling DVDs from the stage or their website instead. In the old world, you’d sell your film and be off to the next one. In this world, you spend a year trying to book the film yourself and cultivating word of mouth. That can happen anywhere.”
Delegates seeking to take advantage of the scheme are advised to do groundwork ahead of appointments. “The level of information a lot of people have given us in advance has taken us back,” Rizq says. “They really know what they want, which is great. They’re only half-hour sessions so it’s helpful if they provide information in advance and come with the right questions. Do they have an idea and want to develop a script? Do they have a finished film and want to know which festivals to approach? What have they already tried?”