In its 6th edition, El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) puts the spotlight on the industry. Leading the charge in this exciting new chapter is the CineGouna Platform (CGP), a long-standing pillar of GFF, which is unveiling its latest initiative: the CineGouna Market.
GFF is proud to announce the launch of the CineGouna Market this year and reiterates its commitment to the film industry by centralizing all its industry-focused activities within the heart of the festival – The Festival Plaza. This bustling hub, once reserved for gala screenings and red carpets, now takes on a new role.
Under the majestic arches of the Plaza, the new space will house the CineGouna Springboard and the CineGouna Bridge activities. It will include one large auditorium in which master classes will be held and two smaller venues to conduct daily discussions.
Graced with trees and a café, the Festival Plaza is set to be the go-to destination for festival attendees and a nurturing ground for the next generation of filmmakers in the MENA region.
The CineGouna Market introduces a new workspace for both established and emerging voices in the Arab film industry, including producers, distributors, sales agents, and VOD platforms. Booths within the Market will serve as a platform for showcasing the line-ups, projects, infrastructure, services, new technologies, and initiatives of these organizations and institutions.
The primary focus of a film market is to connect film professionals with each other and the commercialization of films. CineGouna Market will create an environment that encourages networking and relationship-building among filmmakers, distributors, sales agents, investors, and other key stakeholders, within the region as well as internationally.
A highlight within the Market will be the CineGouna Short Film Lounge where a curated selection of short films will be available for viewing with dedicated screening times during the day. This focus on accessibility and innovative programming aligns with one of GFF’s core objectives: empowering emerging filmmakers.
The Arab film industry has been witnessing significant growth and transformation in recent years, with a surge in both the quantity and quality of Arab films. Filmmakers from the region have been receiving recognition on the global stage. Moreover, several films from the Arab world have been achieving commercial success, reaching wider audiences both domestically and internationally.
Reflecting on these remarkable developments, Executive Director GFF, Amr Mansi expressed his enthusiasm for this initiative, stating,
“As we witness the Arab film industry’s impressive growth and international recognition, we are committed to creating even more opportunities for industry professionals. We aim to take the CineGouna Platform to new heights.
It was the right time to reimagine the Festival Hub as a place where all facets of the industry converge. In this context, we have planted the seeds of a Market to complement the numerous offerings CGP provides.
Similarly, our revamped Bridge program is set to be stronger and more impactful than ever before. I think it is important to invest in infrastructure and initiatives such as the CineGouna Market that will contribute to fueling this growth.”
Over the past five editions, GFF has steadfastly supported projects and filmmakers through its initiatives. CineGouna Bridge has consistently offered curated workshops, panels, and masterclasses, while CineGouna Springboard has provided a wide array of opportunities for filmmakers and their works in progress to learn from industry mentors and vie for awards from influential industry stakeholders.
Festival Director Intishal Al-Timimi emphasized the vital mission of the CineGouna Market, stating,
“The CineGouna Market is not just a marketplace; it’s a dynamic platform designed to foster organic connections among the various stakeholders shaping Arab Cinema.
Our goal is to create an immersive environment where industry professionals and filmmakers can naturally engage, exchange ideas, and collaborate. We believe that this synergy is essential for the continued growth and innovation of our industry.”
Additionally, this year, GFF is proud to introduce CineGouna Emerge, a program dedicated to students and first-time filmmakers, inviting them to participate in and benefit from all festival activities. GFF aims to provide these aspiring talents with resources, mentorship, exposure, and support for the advancement of their work.
Artistic Director Marianne Khoury stressed the importance of supporting young talents, saying,
“In our region, we have a wealth of creative talent but limited resources to nurture it. That’s why it’s vital for GFF to provide exposure to these emerging filmmakers.
They will benefit from our curated programs and the expertise of industry professionals attending the festival, ensuring they’re part of the industry from the very beginning.”
This goes hand in hand with CineGouna Market’s objective to create synergies between the different entities that are vital for the film industry in the region. Emerging, but also established creators of films can take a closer look at partners that are able to support them in showcasing films or realizing their works in progress.
Journalists and critics are invited to examine the line-ups of the most influential production and distribution companies. Even the cinephile visitor can wander through the market and stumble upon fascinating and innovative projects, watch films in the CineGouna Short Film Lounge, or get a sneak peek of new technological innovations.
Last but not least, every day on the Plaza square, the festival will host the Happy Hour in the CineGouna Market from 5 pm to 6 pm. This networking event will allow film professionals to interact with each other in a more relaxed and social setting.
CineGouna Market promises to be the place to be during GFF 2023.