Please #SupportArabCinema at the Berlin International Film Festival!

Published February 16th, 2016 - 07:54 GMT
The new BIFF initiative aims to support Arab cinema. (Behance.net)
The new BIFF initiative aims to support Arab cinema. (Behance.net)

More than 80 top filmmakers and industry professionals attended the European launch of #SupportArabCinema this week at the Berlin International Film Festival, co-hosted by the UAE Embassy in Berlin and Image Nation Abu Dhabi.

#SupportArabCinema, which launched at the recent Dubai International Film Festival, aims to boost the Arab film industry by changing public perception of Arab films and encouraging the public to watch Arab films in cinemas.

The #SupportArabCinema Berlin event was attended by His Excellency Ambassador Aljunaibi, alongside top Arab filmmakers Majid Al Ansari, who won Variety’s prestigious Arab Filmmaker of the Year award this week, Academy Award Nominated and BAFTA winning Khalid Abdalla (The Last Days Of the City), Maher Abi Samra (Maid For Each), Mohamed Ben Attia (Inhebek Hedi) and Dora Bouchoucha (Inhebek Hedi)  as well as a range of industry professionals attending the Berlin International Film Festival – including Netflix, Fox, Cinetic, the British Film Institute and Dubai International Film Festival

Ali Jaafar producer of Hany Abu Assad’s award-winningThe Idol and Ambassador for the #SupportArabCinema campaign, said: “I’m very proud to be supporting this great initiative. I hope that through supporting this campaign, we can educate audiences in the Middle East about all the incredible work filmmakers are creating in the region and eventually influence what films are being watched in theatres around the world.”

Films from across the Middle East are a strong focus at this year’s Berlinale, with over 20 films from the region screened. This includes four films financed by the UAE’s Sanad and Enjaz film funds.

Ambassador Aljunaibi said: ‘We are delighted to have partnered with Image Nation to host this wonderful event with some of the most exciting Arab filmmaking talent from around the globe. We are proud to be supporting this campaign and helping to spread awareness about the region’s burgeoning industry. Film is a fantastic platform for promoting cultural understanding and challenging perceptions and stereotypes and we hope this initiative will help to encourage audiences to see more Arab films in the cinema in our region and around the world.”

Since #SupportArabCinema campaign launch in 2015, over 11,000 people from around the world have pledged their support on social media. Filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world including Hany Abu Assad (The Idol, Paradise Now), CEO of twofour54 Noura Al Kaabi and Chairman of DIFF Abdulhamid Juma have already joined the campaign.

Al Ansari, who attended the event, said: “It’s a very personal story for me to be part of the Support Arab Cinema campaign. Five years ago I told my parents I wanted to become a filmmaker, I knew I wanted to be an artist and pursue my dreams. I knew I had to persuade my mother and her generation and our own community to believe in Arab Cinema, to go and see these films at the cinema.

“We need to believe in our films – films from Emirati filmmakers – and believe that they can be as amazing and successful as Asian and Hollywood movies and support these films now and in the future.”

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation added: “Like all of our endeavours, the #SupportArabCinema campaign underpins Image Nation’s ambition to develop a sustainable film industry in the UAE and the region. We want filmmakers and film production in the region to continue to thrive, allow Arab storytelling to flourish and support our local industry as it grows by bringing more jobs and opportunities to the region. We are pleased to be launching this campaign in Europe and hope that filmmakers and movie fans around the world will join the movement and pledge their support.”

By VIBHUTI ARORA


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