Dubai fest to launch digital film library

Cinetech to make Middle East debut

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Film buyers will be able to access hundreds of new films at the touch of a button, just one aspect of the Dubai Film Market, an initiative of the fifth Dubai International Film Festival.

Cinetech will make its Middle East debut later this year, enabling industry buyers to watch and shortlist films, contact filmmakers and producers.

The system is a digital, closed network, film library that will  include feature films, documentaries, shorts and TV content. Users will be able to browse and search through more than 200 films by logging into the  screens at private booths located at the festival.

The Dubai Film Market will run concurrently to the fest, which will take place Dec. 11-18.

"The Dubai Film Market, partnered by Hewlett Packard, will address the lack of an international content market in the region," said Abdulhamid Juma, DIFF Chairman, announcing the new fest segment. "Dubai is the region's hub for media and technology and the Dubai Film Market will aim to deliver a much-needed platform, especially for Asian, Arab and African film. The market will contribute to shaping and sustaining the region's filmmaking and raising visibility."

Organizers hope that the initiative will facilitate the exchange of rights, services or product ownership and empower buyers and sellers with industry knowledge and simplify the transaction of content trading.

Added Ziad Yaghi, Dubai Film's market director, "There is currently no global content market in the MENA region. We're mainly buying from the US, despite the fact that the MENA TV market is comparable in size to the US, around 336 million people.  The film market will bring together industry professionals from all backgrounds and give filmmakers from emerging markets the opportunity to trade their films."

All the films screened at DIFF will be available, with 200 shortlisted films entered into the searchable Cinetech system. It is hoped the system will grow year after year.

"The Dubai Film Market will put buyers and sellers together. There has been this element at a more informal level in previous years, and it is hoped that introducing this will encourage even more regional trade," said Juma.

There is high satellite penetration -- at around 85 percent of the population -- and box office admissions are at their highest levels in the Gulf. The UAE has become the largest advertising spender across the region.

"The mission of the Dubai Film Market is to make it a global, state-of-the-art platform that encourages the distribution and trade of film and for Dubai to become a regional center for global audio-visual content trade," said Yaghi.