MUMBAI: Dubai Film Market (DFM), the trading and distribution platform at Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), assisted trade deals for over 130 films at its 2009 edition with the total value of the distribution agreements worth over $2 million.
Distribution agreements were signed for markets like Australia, India and the US, with several Gulf-based films gaining trading and distribution rights for theatre screens and television. Among key highlights, City of Life, the UAE’s first feature produced and directed by an Emirati director Ali Mostafa, with international crew and cast, finalised its local and international distribution deals through the Dubai Film Market.
Dubai Film Market director Ziad Yaghi said that the response to the Dubai Film Market highlighted its evolution as the definitive destination for global distributors to choose the finest in Arab, Asian and African movies.
"The overwhelming participation of international buyers representing leading film markets and television channels has provided the selected projects an unprecedented global outreach. The success will serve as a benchmark for the evolution of Dubai Film Market and DIFF in promoting regional cinema to a global audience," he said.
DIFF 2009 held more than 3,352 screenings for over 210 industry professionals through sales representation at Cinetech and Market Lounge. Potential industry buyers through Cinetech had a total of 323 films at their fingertips via HP’s state-of-the-art touch-screens.
Shoreline Entertainment (USA) acquired international distribution, excluding India and the Arab world, of City of Life. Negotiations regarding the film’s trading were first made at the Market Lounge. The Dubai Film Market also successfully participated in bringing together Gulf Films and Filmworks for the UAE theatrical trade of the movie.
Through Cinetech, Shoreline also acquired the worldwide rights for Corso and is currently negotiating the acquisition of further DIFF titles.
Teleview, in partnership with Vintage Films, finalized the acquisition of a strategic deal for the Middle East with Wild Bunch. The deal covers all rights (theatrical, pay TV, free to air and home video) and includes various upcoming titles including Largo Winch 2, starring Sharon Stone, Sundance’s The Killer Inside Me with Jessica Alba, Casey Affleck and Kate Hudson, and Burnt By the Sun 2: Exodus showcasing at Cannes 2010.
Hussain Amarshi from Mongrel Media confirmed the acquisition of two Cinetech films from Strand Releasing at the Dubai Film Market. The films Picture Me and Women without Men were acquired for all windows for the Canadian territory. Negotiations are ongoing for three more DIFF films.
Rotana Studios acquired the Dubai Film Connection and DIFF title Amreeka for theatrical, Home Video and TV distribution in the Middle East, Falcon Films acquired Wendy and Lucy from Memento for distribution in the Middle East through pay TV and free to air.
SBS Television (Australia) senior programmer Brennan Wrenn, finalized and acquired seven films from Dubai Film Market’s Cinetech. The films are: A Prophet, Welcome, Kamui, Harragas, Heiran, The Refuge and Running on Empty. All films were acquired for the Australian territory and are for both for Pay TV and Free to Air.
Fadi Ismael, Group Director of Services, announced that MBC acquired the distribution rights of Between Hip-Hop and Kalashnikov for the Arab world through O3.
OSN reviewed and finalized the acquisition of more than 60 films through 3 major deals with Teleview (17 Films), Front Row Filmed Entertainment (30 Films) and Prime Pictures (16 Films). Some of the Pay TV deals included DIFF titles such as The Little Nicholas.
Phoenicia Pictures International CEO Ameer Fawaz, finalized the acquisition of nine titles from Shoreline Entertainment. After the festival, the parties finalized the acquisition of an added eight bringing the total acquisition volume to 17 films for the Middle Eastern territory. The titles included, Corrado, High Life and Master Harold and the Boys. IRIB Television (Iran) acquired 31 films from Phoenicia Pictures including classic titles like Free Money with Marlon Brando, Donald Sutherland and Charlie Sheen.
France Television Distribution sold several package deals to Arab Free to Air stations. City of Art (Morocco) acquired several animation series, while Al Majd TV (KSA) and Bharain TV finalized the acquisition of Documentary packages.
Empire International CEO Mario Haddad said, "DIFF would not be the same without the Dubai Film Market, for it is the only prominent market in the region, and allows us to explore content we were never able to know about."
Key companies that attended the market included Walt Disney Company, ART, Orbit Showtime Network, RTBF, Shoreline Entertainment, Reed Midem, Al Jazeera, Irib, Kuwait Cable Vision, Bahrain TV, Misr International Films, DMI, Fortissimo, France Television, Moviemax Italia, MBC, Astro, SBS Television, HBO, Mongrel Media, Eagle Vision Media Group and NBC Universal.
The third edition of the Dubai Film Market will take place during DIFF 2010 to be held from 12 to 19 December, 2010. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City and supported by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF.