source: 11th Dubai International Film Festival – Open Air Cinema. Picture: Openaircinemas.wordpress.com
A Complete Guide to Middle Eastern Film Festivals: Tickets, Networks, News
by Rasha Rehman, Juhi Dhingra
If you’ve ever found yourself at a film festival, you’ve probably realized that the opportunities to network with industry members and executives are endless. Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker or simply a film enthusiast, you want to utilize those few days or weeks to network and learn as much as possible. With a little preparation and research all of this is possible and more. Be the first to know about highly anticipated films, workshops, seminars, and industry news with FCC’s top three tips for attending Middle Eastern film festivals:
source: Istanbul Film Festival, 2016. Picture: Simplified-travel.blogspot.com
1- Head straight to the source
Familiarize yourself with a simple google search of Middle Eastern festivals, including niche cinemas like Tajik, Afghan and Arab film industries. Niche film festivals might not show up right away, so sift through a couple of google pages. For direct announcements, call for entries and ticket sales, follow these cinemas on social media and ensure you check out their blogs. Most cinemas might mention other festivals for collaboration or sponsorship purposes, so don’t restrict yourself, and research and navigate through their online platforms. Alongside festivals, make sure you follow cinema platforms that promote niche film industries, e.g., Farsi Cinema Centre (FCC). This emerging platform connects Farsi industry professionals and creates excellent networking opportunities for Middle Eastern film industries. FCC will be present at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September this year, stay connect and informed! Some popular Middle Eastern festivals include Dubai Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, and Duhok International Film Festival.
2- Reach out to media teams
After films have been selected and screening times have been set, the focus for film festival organizers is to attract as many people as possible. Following up to the festival, a variety of panels, parties, and seminars will be organized and this is the perfect opportunity for you to network with industry professionals. Check out Q&As with directors and actors after film screenings to gain knowledge you wouldn’t find otherwise. Don’t be afraid to reach out to media teams and contact festival publicists directly and request to be placed on the media list. These strategies will ensure you are one of the first to know about last-minute events, announcements or any changes.
3- Stay Informed
An easy way to familiarize yourself with industry professionals or companies that will be present, try setting up google alerts to receive news notifications about festivals coming up. Try setting key words like “Farsi film” and “Arab cinema” to get notified with media coverage instantly. While reading these articles or watching videos, pay attention to any influencers mentioned or journalists and specific blogs that may cover this subject consistently.
Which film festivals are you planning to attend?
source: Toronto International Film Festival. Picture: Seetorontonow.com