Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) has launched a new initiative to raise the visibility of world cinema from Arab, Asian and African filmmakers while also giving regional film production and trade a boost. The new Dubai Film Market initiative will facilitate the trade of entertainment content between buyers and sellers.
“This is the biggest initiative this year, and I believe it has been launched at the right time,” explained Abdulhamid Juma, chairman of DIFF. “Dubai has now established itself as the region’s hub for media and technology and we have reached a certain level of progress with the film festival. The time is, therefore, appropriate to take this one step further by enabling content marketing and selling, two elements that have been missing in this region. With this initiative, we hope to also establish Dubai as the regional centre for buying, selling and distributing entertainment content.”
Buyers, sales agents, programmers, distributors and filmmakers from all over the world have been invited to participate in the initiative this year. One of the highlights of the Film Market is a fully digitised film library called Cinetech, which includes 200 titles ranging from feature films and documentaries to short films and other TV content. Cinetech will categorise all available content under different labels. It will assist industry professionals in the selection process by giving them the opportunity to contact or interact with sales agents and rights holders.
“All films are put on a server and over the years, this archive will grow,” explained Fred de Haas, who is a consultant with DFM. “This is the way it is done at Cannes and Berlin and we have followed the same standard here. DFM provides a catalogue of all the titles on paper along with all the practical information, and this enables the buyers to review the films on screen, post comments, see what they want etc. This system also enables us to see who watched what, for how long, what he bought and so on, and allows us to generate reports about each buyer.”
Ziad Yaghi, director of the Dubai Film Market added that this initiative is the first of its kind in the region aimed at boosting AV content trade. “No global content market exists in the MENA region. Local players have to travel to Europe and the US to screen and acquire content. The MENA TV market is comparable by size to the US and we have a high satellite TV penetration that is currently at 85.7%. The box office admissions are at their highest levels in the Gulf region so what stops us from tapping into this market?”
The Dubai Film Market will take place during the Dubai International Film Festival which will run from December 11 to 18, 2008.