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ROME — The Locarno Film Festival has teamed up with Beirut-based Metropolis Cinema and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) to launch its first Industry Academy incubator in the Arab world.

Locarno’s first Industry Academy event for young Arab film professionals will run in Beirut March 22-25, 2018, during the already existing Beirut Cinema Platform co-production meetings organized by Beirut DC and Fondation Liban Cinema.

The Beirut-Locarno Industry Academy International initiative will select eight participants from the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen for the training program. The call for entries will be open from Dec. 20 through Jan. 26.

The program is the prominent Swiss fest’s sixth initiative of this type to help foster a new generation of film professionals around the world.

Its stated goal is to help young industry professionals in sales, marketing, distribution, exhibition and festival programming “understand the challenges of the independent movie industry both in the Arab world and the international scene.”

The training program aimed specifically at young professionals acts not just “as an accelerator, but also creates a new incubator of junior key-players who can exchange opinions and experiences with the hope of recreating a new ecosystem that helps auteur cinema regain the right visibility,” said Nadia Dresti Locarno’s deputy artistic director and head of international, in a statement.

The Locarno Industry Academy International already holds locally curated programs in Morelia, New York City, Thessaloniki, Sao Paulo and Valdivia.