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Gulf Film Forum: the GCC industry comes to Dubai

Alongside its free public screenings and events, the Gulf Film Festival (GFF) will hold the Gulf Film Forum networking events and masterclasses under the auspices of the newly-announced Gulf Film Market, a multiplatform industry initiative aimed at developing the local and regional film culture in the GCC.

Events include Crowd-Funding on Saturday 13 April, with Vida Rizqhe, co-founder of the crowd-funding site Aflamnah.

Sunday 14 April focuses on Saudi cinema. Abdullah Al-Eyaf will lead a discussion with Saudi filmmakers Bader Alhomoud, Bader Alhomoud, Abdulmohsen Al-Dabaan and Talal Ayeel, and journalist Raja Al-Motiri.

Monday 15 April wil see a discussion on Different Cinema, a focus on experimental films and an alternative point of view to an unusual genre in cinema. Festival consultant Salah Sermini will host the session joined by experimental filmmaker Frédérique Devaux and film critic Michel Amarger.

Concluding Gulf Nights on Tuesday 16 April will be an opportunity to Meet The Mentors, where Mohammed Hassan Ahmad and Yousry Nasrallah, mentors of the Gulf Script Market, will share their expectations from the market and current trends in their countries’ industries.

Running from Sunday 14 April to Wednesday 17 April, the main Gulf Film Forum will have daily events at the Forum Room, divided into How-To/Networking sessions and Master Classes. How-To sessions are held from 11am to 1pm, followed by a networking period, while Master Classes will take place from 3pm to 5pm.

Sunday’s How To session is How to Source Financing For Short Films in the GCC, which will introduce the organisations and funds that provide funds for short filmmakers in the presence of Mahdi Ali Ali from the Doha Film Institute, Mohammed Al Otaiba of Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Khalid Khouri, head of ibtikar Commercial – twofour54 ibtikar and Rima Mismar, films programme manager of the Arab Culture Fund. The discussion will be moderated by Kuwaiti producer Talal Al Muhanna.

On Monday, the topic is How to Produce a Feature Film in the GCC Countries, which highlights the steps involved in bringing a feature script to screen. Moderated by UAE filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja, the discussion will feature filmmakers Abdullah Al Kaabi, Ahmed Al Baker, Haider Rashid and Khadija Al-Salami.

Participate in Festivals around the World and Distribute your Short Film, is the topic of Tuesday’s discussion, which covers the best strategies to selecting the right festival for your film. Moderated by film publicity expert Chris Paton, the session will feature French shorts distributor and producer Sebastien Aubert, filmmaker Khalid Al Mahmoudand Busan and Film Festival programmer Cho Young-Jung.

On Wednesday 17 April the session on Package Your Film for Sales and Festivals covers the best practices to market your film and ensure it stands out in festivals and markets. Samr Al Marzooqi, Dubai Film Market manager, Dubai International Film Festival, will lead the discussion and will be joined by Chris Paton, senior vice president acquisitions and development, Fortissimo Films, and Khulud Abu Homos, senior vice president of programming & creative services, OSN.

Sunday's Master Class begins with the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi Workshop in Producing Your Short Film, led by producer Michael McCartney. The workshop will cover all aspects of film production, from financing and budgeting to casting and distribution.

The Monday Master Class is the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi Professional Workshop in Directing Actors hosted by Dr Kathy Curtiss, which will cover the essential elements of the director-actor relationship.

On Tuesday, Sebastien Aubert will lead the Raising Funding from Private Investors Master class, which covers how to sell incentives to an existing network of potential financiers.

The Gulf Script Market for Short Films will culminate in a pitching session on Tuesday 16 April where the GSM participants will be given the opportunity to present their scripts to film industry professionals with the aim of forming new partnerships that could potentially lead to the production of their scripts.

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