GMM summit: Developing skills of visual storytellers in Cairo

Daily News Egypt
5 Min Read

Through its partnership with the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) and US Embassy in Cairo, Film Independent will organise a Global Media Makers (GMM) summit under the umbrella of Cairo Industry Days to mark and celebrate the third year of the GMM programme. The summit will be attended by the GMM fellows, selected mentors, and regional and international partners.

The two-day summit from 28 to 29 November will mainly focus on the GMM fellows discussing the programme’s contributions to their filmmaking careers and its positive effects on what they have achieved so far.

The summit aims to expand on the different ways that this programme is supporting its fellows in unfolding pan-Arab collaborations. In addition, it will highlight the GMM’s important role in paving the way for cross pollination between Arab and US filmmakers, and industry leaders by relying on its key industry network, and its international strategic relations.

“Film Independent is very excited to partner this year with the CIFF to produce the GMM summit in autumn,” Maria Raquel Bozzi, senior director of Education and International Initiatives, said.

“CIFF’s director Mohamed Hefzy has been a close collaborator for the last three years through the GMM programme. The CIFF is the perfect place to bring together our talented Middle Eastern fellows with esteemed American mentors to celebrate the power of artists working across regions,” Bozzi added.

Over the past three years, the US Embassy in Cairo has worked with the GMM to bring promising emerging Egyptian filmmakers to the US for professional development programmes.

These programmes allow Egyptian filmmakers to develop new markets for their films in the US while learning more about their craft from American mentors and experts, and creating deep and lasting professional connections between the film communities of both countries.

These programmes also provide opportunities for American filmmakers to gain a deeper understanding of the international media landscape and to participate in cross-cultural engagement,” Ruth Anne Stevens-Klitz, the cultural affairs officer at US Embassy in Cairo, said.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with Film Independent and the CIFF to bring together the alumni of these programmes for this GMM summit,” she added.

“Having become acquainted with several Egyptian filmmakers over the past few years through the GMM, I am extremely excited to participate in the upcoming Cairo Industry Days,” Producer Alix Madigan said. “Egypt has a formidable and stimulating filmmaking community, and I am looking forward to an exhilarating exchange of ideas. My previous visit to Cairo created a special place in my heart for the artists who live there, and I am thrilled to be reuniting with them and meeting others.”

Writer and Director Amr Salama, GMM fellow, expressed his excitement to participate in the summit and Cairo Industry Days activities.

“I am looking forward to this round of the CIFF more than ever. I cannot wait to see how the fresh blood will revamp one of the oldest film festivals. Also, it is exciting to know that Film Independent is taking part in the festival, as they are one of the most influential entities shaping the future of American cinema and the future of American and international talents,” Salama said.

Mohamed Hefzy, president of the CIFF, said, “I have always admired the great work that Film Independent and GMM have been doing in supporting Arab filmmakers, and we are proud to be hosting their summit this year in the CIFF.”

The mentors attending the summit are Laura Kim, senior vice president of film marketing at Participant Media, producer and writer Mary Sweeney (Mulholland Drive, The Straight Story), and producer Alix Madigan (Winter’s Bone). The mentors will also take part in a number of panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses as offered to the festival accredited guests under the umbrella of Cairo Industry Days.

Film Independent is a nonprofit organisation that supports independent films and artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their films, build an audience for their projects, and work to diversify the film industry.

The GMM is supported through a partnership between Film Independent and the bureau of educational and cultural affairs of the US Department of State.

Cairo Industry Days is the industry platform of the CIFF launching during the 40th edition of the festival. Cairo Industry Days, in partnership with Arab Cinema Centre, provides an important space for discussions, networking, meetings, workshops, master classes, and partnership opportunities between Arab talents and regional and international key industry professionals to further support Arab cinema.

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