Wed Dec 10,2008

Special Documentary Day with Hot Docs Explores World of Documentary Filmmaking

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), in association with Toronto-based documentary festival Hot Docs will host a day of documentary film industry discussions on December 16, covering international co-productions, creative documentaries, and films screening at DIFF 2008.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali, DIFF’s Artistic Director, stated:  “Hot Docs is a wonderful partner for DIFF; because of their specialized focus,  they are able to offer workshop participants very valuable feedback and insight into this diverse industry. Documentaries are a vibrant niche in the film world—they are often incredibly creative, emotional and of course informative.  Through this programme, DIFF offers support to regional documentarians, who are integral to archiving and interpreting the Middle East’s social, political, cultural and physical environments.”

A panel called ‘The A-Z of International Co-production’ will explore the general process and specific techniques of international co-productions, to inform producers about the international co-production market, funds and other elements that can facilitate the process. Elizabeth Radshaw, Director of Hot Docs’s annual pitching forum, will moderate a panel comprising Sebastien Beffa of Films Distribution, Anna Glogowski of France 3, and Fadi Ismail of 03 Productions/MBC Group.

Sean Farnel, Hot Docs’s Director Programming, will moderate a panel on creative documentary,  usually defined as feature-length, director-driven one-offs. While these projects are very much in demand and popular at film festivals, the market for them on broadcast television and theatrical exhibition has declined. The panel will discuss the current context and potential future opportunities for creative documentaries. Distinguished panellists include Wouter Barendrecht of Fortissimo Films, Montaser Maraj of Al Jazeera Channel, Eliane Raheb of Beirut DC and Nathalie Windhorst of VPRO.

A third panel will focus on the practical elements, creative decisions and strategic solutions that brought four of DIFF 2008’s documentaries from script to screen,  spotlighting four international filmmakers with feature documentaries screening at DIFF 2008.  The directors will share their experiences, insights and candid advice in a dynamic session that will include film clips, audience participation and invaluable exposure to their best practices. Chris McDonald, Hot Docs Executive Director, will moderate the discussion with filmmakers Kasim Abid, whose Life After the Fall chronicles four years of life in post-Saddam Baghdad; Osvalde Lewat,  director of Une Affaire des Negres (Black Business), about Cameroonian families who have lost loved ones to a group of operatives who killed over 1000 people in a single year; Kazuhiro Soda, whose Mental explores humane psychiatric treatments used in a Japanese hospital, and Francois Verster, director of Sea Point Days, a look at post-Apartheid Cape Town.

DIFF 2008 will run from December 11 to 18.  The Industry Office was established in 2006 to provide a platform for networking and information-sharing between international and regional film professionals.

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