Mideast movie mart helps local pics

Dubai digital bazaar to help regional features

The fifth Dubai Film Festival will launch the Arab world’s first movie market in December.

The Dubai Film Market will focus on Arab, Asian and African films and give buyers from across the world the opportunity to acquire content through Cinetech, an innovative digital partnership with Hewlett-Packard.

Cinetech, essentially a digitized film library, will feature 200 features, shorts and docs. Users will be able to browse the library electronically and interact directly with rights holders.

“People used to have to travel to Cannes, Mip and the U.S. to buy content,” mart director Ziad Yaghi told Daily Variety. “With the media market booming in the Middle East on many fronts, all the factors to create a successful market here are in place.”

The Dubai Film Market is the latest initiative from the fest, which runs Dec. 11-18, to help turn the emirate into a regional pic industry hub.

Last year, fest organizers launched co-production market the Dubai Film Connection to bring filmmakers together with agents and producers.

The Dubai Film Market will offer a platform for Arab, Asian and African filmmakers to sell their pix during the fest.

“It is designed to gradually establish Dubai as the regional center for the discovery and trade of content that will benefit the rapidly evolving film, media and technology industry at large,” said Dubai fest chairman Abdulhamid Juma.

All the content at this year’s fest with available film and TV rights will be uploaded onto the Cinetech site, with a view to rapidly expanding the library in the years to come.

The Arab media biz is booming, with advertising levels up, more than 300 free-to-air satellite channels and a growing exhibition sector spurred by real estate growth.

“The Dubai Film Market will revolutionize the way content acquisition takes place here,” said Yaghi, a former acquisitions exec with Arab pay TV platform Orbit. “It will provide people involved in the TV, homevideo and film industries with a networking platform to discover future trends and trade content on a global level.”