You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cairo Fest Industry Days Doubles Prize Cash, Moves Into TV

A key aspect of Mohamed Hefzy’s Cairo Film Festival reboot has been to re-introduce and reinvent its Cairo Industry Days market component comprising the Cairo Film Connection (CFC) co-production platform, which this year almost doubled its prize pot to $200,000 for 16 selected Arabic film projects.

But the mart’s major novelty this edition is its TV component. After starting last year with a TV script development workshop, being held again this year by Screen Buzz, the strand is now rising to the next level with a three-day confab hosted by the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI), a Hollywood mentorship program looking to boost the careers of Arabic TV writers and producers.

“We are trying to build a focus on TV, but also to reinforce the combination of both film and TV,” says Cairo Industry Days chief Aliaa Zaki, the former Dubai Film Market exec who is proving instrumental to putting Cairo, the Middle East’s film and TV industry’s historic hub, back on the map as a major driver.

The MEMI confab, marking the first of this type at a Middle East fest, will culminate with a dedicated Arabic TV series pitching day attended by top regional platforms including MBC, Vuclip, Shaheed and OSN, and also reps from Netflix, Sony, and AMC.

Popular on Variety

On the film side, the CFC projects in development or post hail from Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia and, of course Egypt – which accounts for almost half the selection curated by Meriame Deghedi, which “is going to surprise a lot of people,” says Hefzy, who notes that “there is quality there, but it’s also very diverse and quite daring” with lots of docs.

Buyers from Wild Bunch, Pyramide Films, Films Boutique, Orange Studio, Indie Sales, Fortissimo Films, Media Luna, Bac Films and Still Moving, as well as the Middle East’s Front Row Filmed Entertainment and Moving Turtle will be among the roughly 200 industry execs making the trek.

In terms of workshops Zaki is particularly proud that U.S. org Film Independent will be running a creative production workshop led by, among others, Roadside Attractions chief Eric D’Arbeloff, providing Egyptian and Arab producers with an indie financing overview and also training to pitch their projects. European training program EAVE will run a film script development workshop held by “Elle” producer Diana Elbaum and two other prominent cohorts.

As for masterclasses, the standout this year will be an onstage conversation between Terry Gilliam and Egypt’s Amr Salama, a big Gilliam fan, who is currently directing Netflix Arabic original series “Paranormal.” Their chat will be held on Nov. 22, which also happens to be both helmers’ birthday.

More Film

  • Richard Jewell

    Box Office: Clint Eastwood Suffers Worst Opening in Four Decades With 'Richard Jewell'

    Clint Eastwood might end up with a lump of box office coal after “Richard Jewell” sputtered in its domestic debut. Despite critical acclaim, the drama about the security guard falsely accused by the media for playing a part in the 1996 Olympics bombing ignited with a dismal $5 million from 2,502 theaters. It’s a disappointing [...]

  • (from left) Tom (Henry Golding) and

    Emilia Clarke's 'Last Christmas' Crosses $100 Million at Global Box Office

    Universal’s “Last Christmas,” a romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, surpassed $100 million in global ticket sales. The milestone is a win for original fare, one that is especially impressive considering the movie was skewered by critics for its wacky twist ending. After six weeks in theaters, “Last Christmas” has earned $34.4 million [...]

  • DSCF0855.RAF

    'Jumanji 2' Rules Overseas Box Office With $85 Million

    Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” powered international box office charts, collecting $85 million from 34 markets over the weekend. The action-packed sequel kicked off in North America with $60 million for a global start of $145 million. “Jumanji: The Next Level” debuted in a handful of foreign territories last weekend, bringing box office receipts to [...]

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney Plus Signs Exclusive Distribution Deal With Canal Plus in France

    Ahead of its launch in France on March 31, 2020, Disney Plus has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Canal Plus Group, the country’s leading pay-TV company. The deal, which was first reported in the French newspaper Les Echos and confirmed by Canal Plus Group CEO Maxime Saada on his Twitter account, marks a new [...]

  • French movie actress Anna Karina smiles

    Anna Karina, French New Wave Star and Jean-Luc Godard Collaborator, Dies at 79

    French New Wave star Anna Karina, who served as a muse for Jean-Luc Godard and appeared in eight of his films, has died. She was 79. France’s culture minister, Franck Reister, announced her death in a tweet, as did her agent, Laurent Balandras, who attributed the cause as cancer. “Her gaze was the gaze of [...]

  • Frozen 2

    'Frozen 2' Sets Record as Disney's Sixth Movie to Hit $1 Billion in 2019

    “Frozen 2” is the sixth Disney movie this year to hit $1 billion globally, strengthening the studio’s sheer dominance over the box office. Those ticket sales extend the benchmark Disney set over summer, with five other films — “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King” and “Captain Marvel” — joining the billion-dollar club [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content