DIFF Daily 2010

Dubai Film Forum gets underway today

Dec 13,2010 - 03:51 PM

The Dubai Film Forum, the discussion and analysis platform of the Dubai Film Market, hits its stride today. The Forum will offer more than 20 events over the course of DIFF 2010, covering subjects ranging from co-production opportunities and casting to censorship and film criticism.

The Forum, which aims to foster partnerships within the international film community, opened yesterday with a panel on the future of film business journalism and the launch of the DIFF 2010 Young Journalist Award. Today’s offerings include a programmers’ networking session and panels on Mexican cinema and the changing role of film festival journalism.

Regional filmmakers will want to check out the workshops on casting (with three European casting directors) and working with international sales agents (with panellists from ART, SD Distribution, Fortissimo and Focus Features International), as well as networking sessions with Arab-world producers, film commissioners and funders. Capital Regions for Cinema, a European production network, will host a session laying out the opportunities in Rome, Madrid, Berlin and Paris for foreign productions. There are also panels on regional co-production and the art of balancing critical credibility and commercial viability, the latter featuring director Peter Weir, whose film ‘The Way Back’ plays at the festival.

National industry panels will look at Egypt, which faces substantial challenges but has produced some of DIFF 2010’s most exciting premieres, and India, which is taking an increasingly prominent position in the global industry, as well as Mexico. Documentaries also receive attention with sessions about the role of politics in non-fiction filmmaking, with African cinema legend and DIFF lifetime achievement honoree Souleymane Cisse, and on funding opportunities for Arab world documentary-makers.

On the more academic side, regional filmmakers contribute to a panel on creating work in censored environments, asking whether filmmakers can turn restrictions to their benefit as artists. There are also panels discussing the challenges of adapting books for the screen and the changing role of film criticism, which has been profoundly challenged by new media and user-generated content.

The Variety panel, ‘The Call to Cross Over’, asks how Arab regional icons maintain their star status and whether they can break into the international industry.

The Forum also offers close-up attention to parts of the DIFF 2010 programme. Souleymane Cisse discusses his career with Simon Field while a case study unpacks the feature debut of theatre director Georges Hashem, ‘Stray Bullet’, which gets its Gulf premiere at the festival.

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