Over 3,100 screenings at DIFF’s Dubai Film Market

Thu Dec 17,2009

Over 3,100 screenings were made for industry buyers at the Dubai Film Market, the trading and distribution platform at Dubai International Film Festival.

Potential industry buyers have a total of 323 films at their fingertips via state-of-the-art touch-screens and over 200 different users watched 3,100 screenings, nearly three times over 2008. The sophisticated software includes direct links to sales agents, and can store documents, providing a useful aide for buyers and filmmakers.

City of Life, A Prophet and Zindeeq were the three most-viewed films and other films that have gained interest are 12 Angry Lebanese; Finding Mr & Mrs Right Dubai Style; Fix Me, Cartagena and Tehran Without Permission.

Key executives attending the Dubai Film Market include Natalie Bobineau, Head of France Television; Mehdi Yadegari, head of acquisitions for IRIB in Iran; Claire Colart, head of acquisitions for Belgian company RTBF; Laurine Garaude from Reed Midem in France; Marwan Helayel from NBC Universal; and Michael Andreen from Disney.

Brennan Wrenn, senior programmer for Australia’s SBS TV, making his third trip to Dubai, said: “We are a multi-lingual, multi-cultural broadcaster so coming to Dubai is perfect. The system is really effective for us. I’m not doing the deals directly, but selecting the titles. When I get back, we’ll probably look to acquire about six titles.” Sam Egen from Shoreline Entertainment, said he intends to buy more than six titles.

Mona Kwan, Director of acquisitions and publicity for Jaguar Distribution Corp, was attending her first Dubai Film Market to get a flavour of international releases, particularly English-language titles, which could be suitable for in-flight movies for her airline and shipping clients. She said regions had different cultural tastes, with European airlines tending to like romantic comedies, in contrast to more conservative, action-loving Middle Eastern airlines.

Another first-time visitor, Hussain Amarshi, President of Mongrel Media from Canada, was impressed by the organisation of the Dubai Film Market. “The Canadian market is looking for films that are authentic, new and innovative.” Roberto Proia, Head of theatrical distribution for Moviemax, liked the fact that the Dubai Film Market was “less hectic” than other festivals and “more hi tech”.

Ziad Yaghi, Director, Dubai Film Market, was delighted with the broad range of talent that had attended the market this week. “The people who are here can change the image and distribution of Arab cinema worldwide.”

This year is the second Dubai Film Market, uniting producers and leading industry buyers representing various distribution channels, and more than 73 matchmaking meetings have been organised. It also features a new category ‘Dubai Film Connection – Work in Progress.’

Last year, the Dubai Film Market hosted 211 films and the Market Lounge witnessed more than 68 meetings. In all, more than 50 deals were secured across various distribution and broadcasting channels.

DIFF 2009 was held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah were the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event was supported by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).

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