DIFF to strengthen outreach of regional cinema through distribution support

Tue Dec 15,2009

Partners with Front Row Filmed Entertainment and Reel Cinemas

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is partnering with Front Row Filmed Entertainment and Reel Cinemas to introduce pioneering cinema initiatives aimed at encouraging regional talent and strengthening cinema appreciation.

In a landmark move, DIFF and Front Row Cinemas will unveil a special ‘DIFF Selection’ of eight DVDs per year of films screened at the festival over the past six years, and to be distributed through Virgin Megastores across the Middle East and others. The inaugural DVD is that of Le Grand Voyage, the opening Gala of the first-ever DIFF in 2004.

DIFF Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the DIFF Selection will be chosen from Arab, Asian and African films that have been screened at the festival with a focus on Arab movies. “The objective of the DIFF Selection is to make films from the Arab world, Asia and Africa, the predominant footprint of the festival, available for a wider audience. Film festivals play a key role in creating awareness about powerful movies; however, it is important to take the next step forward, and create a distribution outlet that makes these films accessible for the larger public.”

In two other key initiatives, DIFF and The Picturehouse, the dedicated arthouse cinema at Reel Cinemas, will launch eight titles of regional Arab talent. DIFF and Reel Cinemas will also host country-focused dedicated screenings twice a year, showcasing a selection of films from chosen destinations. The selected films will be screened for up to two weeks at The Picturehouse. These movies will be the exclusive showcase of DIFF’s distribution and screening plans initially.

DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya said the initiatives offer an extended platform for showcasing movies that may not have a regional distributor or a world-wide release. “This is an extension of DIFF’s commitment to ensure that our goal of creating a strong platform for regional filmmaking is supported by year-long tangible initiatives. The monthly and country focused screenings will serve as an ideal interface for regional filmmakers and the public.”

DIFF will submit a list of potential titles for programming collaboration, secure permissions for exhibiting, mange logistics and publicise the movies. Reel Cinemas, in turn, will handle the revision and inspection of the prints, promote direct marketing of the movies. The country specific screenings will be based on the model of the same event hosted in Singapore by the joint-venture partner of Emaar Retail, which has joined with Cathay Organisation Ltd to develop Reel Cinemas across the region.

Masoud Amralla Al Ali said the new initiatives are a true complement to DIFF’s continued focus on driving the regional film industry. In the past six years, DIFF has played an instrumental role in promoting Arab films through initiatives such as Dubai Film Connection and Dubai Film Market. Several movies from the Arab world, promoted and facilitated through DIFF, have made global headlines. More details of these new initiatives will be announced in due course.

DIFF 2009, which runs until December 16, is screening more than 168 films this week. DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

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