3:00pm : Middle East panel

What were the stunning moves in the Middle East cinema industry in 2013? What are the biggest challenges in making a successful Arab film and what are the tools currently available for filmmakers?

Traditionally, the western world has this image of Arab filmmakers (particularly those who come from the Gulf countries) as rolling in dough. But Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah said recently on the Huffington Post that he was surprised to find out they are “as poor as any African filmmaker!” What is the biggest challenge for a filmmaker today, who wants to make a successful Arab film?

Ali Jaafar, in a 2010 interview, admitted that while there are great successful films being made in the Middle East, they each have about 15 to 20 different finance sources. What is the alternative — for a filmmaker from the region — to getting for example, pre-production from the Doha Film Institute/Participant media film fund just launched in Berlin, post production through Sanad at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival or Enjaaz at the Dubai International Film Festival — and then additional marketing funds through Aflamnah?

What do each participant on the distinguish panel think of the co-production deals being formed between companies like Participant Media and the Doha Film Institute, and others across the region?

Still on the subject of DFI, they recently announced a fund called Hazawi, for shorts which need to be shot entirely in Doha, Qatar. Do requirements that ask for specific shooting locations and such create obstacles for the filmmakers or actually challenge them to create locally, exploring these lesser known cultures?

Pros and cons of funds and rebates, like the 30% one offered by TwoFour54 to film with a co-producer from the Abu Dhabi media zone?

What are the co-production tools currently available to a filmmaker who wants to make a film in the Arab world? Any specific countries more apt to create these allegiances?

Annemarie Jacir’s latest film “When I Saw You” received substantial post production help from the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and as Jacir herself admitted “this broke film was saved by a broke country, Greece, in the most generous way.” Which Arab countries are most generous with their financial supports of filmmakers? And which traditionally least supportive?

As with everything in life, there are film funds and then there are FILM FUNDS. How to differentiate the great ones from the ones that may not pay off after all?

In the last six months, “Crowdfunding” has become THE word for film financing. Is the formula of the Arab world’s Kickstarter — Aflamnah — going to work in the region? What are the challenges for the company?

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Cannes €co 2013

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